LAFC midfielder Bryce Duke passed up Barcelona opportunity for MLS deal

Bryce Duke - LAFC - pensive look

If life had gone differently, perhaps LAFC midfielder Bryce Duke would be playing in Spain at Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy.

That development surfaced in a recent Los Angeles Times story by Kevin Baxter, where Duke’s interesting journey to MLS is covered. For one, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley is happy that they have the youngster.

“From the beginning, Bryce has made a very good impression,” Bradley told the LA Times. “For a young player, he’s smart. He picks up ideas. He’s confident, and so in the few moments when we use him in games, we were really excited to see just the way he stepped on the field. We think that he’s a young player with a fantastic upside.”

Duke was signed by LAFC as a Homegrown Player this past January, though didn’t develop in the club’s academy. His early academy years came with Real Salt Lake, and then the midfielder returned to Arizona with Barcelona’s residency academy. He caught the eye of Mike Sorber, LAFC’s director of soccer operations, and a deal was struck for his Homegrown rights, leading to LAFC sending Salt Lake $50,000 in 2021 General Allocation Money.

He signed with LAFC after passing up a tryout with Barcelona, where he was scheduled to go in the winter.

Duke logged 22 minutes of MLS action before the 2020 season was suspended, twice coming off the bench. The 19-year-old has also made one Concacaf Champions League sub appearance, a 28-minute showing against Club Leon. 

Now, Duke is looking forward to powering ahead with his rookie season, as unorthodox as it's been so far.

“It’s not a perfect season, like all the other ones where everything ran smoothly for me,” he said. “But everything happens for a reason. This is definitely going to be something that I remember. Maybe not in the most positive way.”

For more from Duke, check out the full story here.