TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
The New York Red Bulls have signed midfielder Bento Estrela to a homegrown contract, the club announced Tuesday. At 14 years and 364 days, Estrela is the fourth-youngest signing in league history.
Estrela has featured for the Red Bulls U-19 academy squad this year and originally joined the academy in the summer of 2019. The New Jersey native is easily the youngest signing in Red Bulls history, a record previously held by Tyler Adams.
"This is an exciting day for Bento and his family, and for everyone at the club as well," head of sport Kevin Thelwell said in a club statement. "Bento has stood out at the academy level and progressed quickly while playing with an older age group. By bringing him into our professional environment, we aim to maximize his development and give him the best chance to grow as a player and a person."
Freddy Adu (14 years and 168 days), Emmanuel Ochoa (14 years and 191 days) and Gabriel Slonina 14 years and 297 days) are the only three players signed younger than Estrela in MLS history. Slonina (Chicago Fire FC) and Ochoa (San Jose Earthquakes) each signed their deals in 2019 and are awaiting their MLS debuts.
"We at the Academy are extremely proud of Bento’s progress over the last 18 months and are excited to see him sign his first professional contract with New York Red Bulls," said Red Bulls Academy Director Sean McCafferty. "Although Bento is very young, he understands that this is just the beginning and that the hard work starts now. I’d like to take this moment to congratulate Fouad Kawtari for scouting and recruiting Bento to New York Red Bulls and also the Academy coaches/staff who work hard to challenge him every day to ensure we accelerate his development and ultimately help him fulfill his potential."