The Montreal Impact announced the signing of Canadian youth international Karifa Yao on Tuesday, the Homegrown defender inking a two-year deal with three option years. He’s the 17th HGP in IMFC history.

“Karifa Yao is a young defender who has developed well thanks to the Montreal Impact academy,” said Impact head coach Remi Garde in a club release. “We would like to welcome him to the pros, where he will have the opportunity to prove his potential through his work in training.”

Yao, 18, is a product of Laval youth club Etoiles de l’Est. Born in Montreal to an Ivorian father and a Senegalese mother, he joined the Impact’s academy in 2017, starting with the Under-17 team before spending the past two seasons with the Impact U-19s in U.S. Soccer Development Academy play.

“It’s a source of pride and the best reward after all the sacrifices I’ve made,” said Yao. “I’ve always dreamt of wearing this jersey, and I’m very proud to have this dream come true.”

Montreal host the Seattle Sounders at Stade Saputo on Wednesday (7:30 pm ET | TVAS, TSN 1/5 in Canada, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US) before a three-week break during Gold Cup group-stage play.