As the Portland Timbers fight for their playoff lives in 2016, they added a promising young player for 2017 and beyond.
On Friday, the Timbers announced the signing of 17-year-old academy defender Marco Farfan as an MLS Homegrown Player for next season.
Farfan is the youngest signing for the Timbers since they joined MLS, as well as the first product of the Timbers academy program to sign a Homegrown contract.
“We are extremely pleased to announce Marco as the first Homegrown Player signing from our academy system,” Timbers general manager and president Gavin Wilkinson said in a release. “His quality and hard work are being recognized, and this signing is an indication of things to come from the Timbers Academy. The pathway through T2, to signing with the first team speaks to the developing vertical integration and investment within the club.”
Farfan is coming off a productive season with Portland's USL affiliate, T2, starting in each of his 18 appearances and playing the eighth-most minutes on the team (1,463), before getting named No. 7 on the USL 20 Under 20 rankings. He earned his first call-up to the US U-19 national team on Sept. 30.
A Portland native who's been a stalwart of the Timbers academy since 2013, Farfan previously played for their U-16 and U-18 squads.
"This is a seminal moment for the club. Marco Farfan is the first Homegrown Player to come directly through our academy,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “This bodes well for the future of our young players and reinforces that our development pathway is on the right track. Ultimately, it will be up to Marco but he has the potential to eventually see a role in the first team and we look forward to giving him every opportunity to succeed."