NYCFC sign 17-year-old midfielder Justin Haak to Homegrown Player deal

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

New York City FC unveiled their third-ever Homegrown Player on Thursday, signing 17-year-old academy midfielder Justin Haak.

A Brooklyn native who has impressed in a deep midfield role for the NYCFC Under-18/19 team that won a U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship last year, Haak follows in the footsteps of James Sands and Joe Scally as he advances to the first team.

“Justin is an amazing and smart kid whose story is a special one for New York City FC,” said NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna, whose son Gio played alongside Haak in the academy, in a statement. “He is one of the original academy members who joined our U-14s in 2015 and as a Brooklyn native, he’s our club’s first ever signing from the five boroughs.

“When I personally shared the news of his Homegrown contract to him over lunch, I’ll never forget the look on his face. Justin is a talented player and an incredible person, and I’m thrilled to see him sign his first professional contract with us and look forward to seeing his continued growth with NYCFC throughout the coming years.”

A product of NYCFC youth affiliate Met Oval, Haak was a member of the Cityzens’ very first academy side, the U-14s in 2015, and progressed along the entire pathway, ultimately helping win a Generation adidas Cup trophy in 2017 and the aforementioned national championship in 2018. He’s also a US youth international, currently part of the U-18 national team pool.

Last year Haak joined the NYCFC first team for preseason matches vs. the LA Galaxy and Atletico San Luis, earning wider attention in the latter thanks to the warm welcome provided by the Mexican club’s fans at Estadio Alfonso Lastras, who loudly noted the teenager’s resemblance to Uruguay and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Edinson Cavani.

“It’s hard to describe,” Haak told NYCFC.com of signing a professional contract. “You dream about it almost your whole life and then what it actually comes – you almost can’t believe it.

“When NYCFC was first announced, I knew I wanted to play for the professional team in my own city that I’ve grown up in. It was an amazing chance for me and I just wanted to be a part of it.”

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