It would be an understatement to say the San Jose Earthquakes are high on teenager Jacob Akanyirige.
The Earthquakes announced on Friday that they have signed Akanyirige, a 15-year-old defender, to a Homegrown Player contract. Akanyirige is the youngest-ever signing by San Jose, and the third-youngest player currently in MLS (Gianluca Busio - Sporting Kansas City, George Bello - Atlanta United). He is also the eighth-youngest player to sign a pro contract in league history.
"Jacob has shown an incredible amount of potential at such a young age," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a statement released by the club. "We challenged him to play above his age this year and were impressed by his maturity and technical abilities. We are confident he will continue to develop with regular first team training exposure."
Akanyirige, 15, joined the Quakes' Under-15 squad ahead of the 2016-17 academy season from Ballistic United SC. He has been competing for the U-19s in 2017-18, despite being age-eligible for the U-17s.
The Pleasanton, California native becomes the fourth Homegrown Player signing in San Jose's history, and first directly from the team's academy, after midfielder Tommy Thompson ahead of the 2014 season, defender Nick Lima ahead of the 2017 season and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski earlier this month.