New York City FC sign 19-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international Shannon Gomez, goalkeeper Andre Rawls

New York City FC added two more players to their youth movement, announcing Thursday the signing of 19-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international Shannon Gomez and goalkeeper Andre Rawls.

Gomez joins NYCFC on a one-year loan from Trinidadian club W Connection with a club option to buy ahead of the 2017 season. A US resident, Gomez will not occupy an international slot.

“Shannon is a really good surprise,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said in a statement. “He came on trial and he did really well during preseason. He’s young, he’s got pace and is comfortable on the ball. I think it will take a few months for him to get used to the physicality of MLS, but he’s been really good since he’s been with us and is another great prospect for the future.”

Gomez, who has been training with NYCFC for the duration of the club’s final preseason camp in Sarasota, Fla., and is capable of playing as a right back and a winger, is an experienced Trinidad and Tobago youth international and has two career appearances with the country’s senior team. He played every minute of W Connection’s four-game run in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League, which included a 2-1 win over Costa Rican giants Saprissa.

Rawls was originally drafted by New York City FC in the third round (44th overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and then signed with the club’s USL affiliate, Wilmington Hammerheads, for the 2015 season. He made 22 starts in net for the Hammerheads.

He has been with NYCFC for the entirety of preseason and traveled with the team to Puerto Rico at the end of 2015. 

“I’m ecstatic,” Rawls said in a statement released by the club. “I’ve worked really hard since being drafted last season so to have this opportunity means everything to me.

“The time I spent down in Wilmington was a great experience and I’d like to thank everyone involved at the club. It was my first professional experience, I got a lot of games in and that really helped me grow as a goalkeeper and helped in my development as a professional. That step through the USL was a really good bridge from college to MLS for me.”

New York City FC sporting director Claudio Reyna believes that Rawls is ready to take the next step in New York.

“Andre is a promising young goalkeeper that has been in our system for a while now,” Reyna said in the release. “He did very well for our USL affiliate team Wilmington Hammerheads last season. He knows how we are looking to play and has shown significant improvement throughout our preseason training camp this year. We look forward to continuing to help Andre develop and have him as part of our group.”

NYCFC will open the 2016 season on Sunday at the Chicago Fire (2 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

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