MLS

Keesean Ferdinand, 16, becomes youngest player signed by Impact

The Montreal Impact have signed teenagers Keesean Ferdinand and Tomas Giraldo to homegrown player contracts. In 2019, they represented Canada at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil.

Defender, fellow teen Tomas Giraldo, 17, agree to homegrown player contracts

Keesean Ferdinand on Wednesday became the first player to go through the Impact pre-academy (under-11) system to sign a contract with the first team. (Buda Mendes - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images/File)

The Montreal Impact have signed teenagers Keesean Ferdinand and Tomas Giraldo to homegrown player contracts.

The 16-year-old Ferdinand, a defender, is the youngest player from the Impact academy to join the MLS team. Giraldo is a 17-year-old midfielder.

The Impact describe both players as "off-roster homegrown" talent, saying they cannot dress for the first team until they are placed on the roster. Montreal can activate them at any time as long as there is room in the salary cap.

They are the 19th and 20th players to sign a homegrown player deal with the Impact.

"Keesean is a player that can play in the middle and on both sides of the defence, like he showed during training camp in Florida," Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement.

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Ferdinand, who was playing with the Impact under-19 side, joined the Montreal academy in 2014 at the age of 10. He becomes the first player to go through the Impact pre-academy (under-11) system to sign a contract with the first team.

"A dream I've had since I was young comes true," said Ferdinand. "Every hour on the field, every duel won, every loss and every win helped me grow and improve. Realizing that the club that formed me trusts me at a young age is the proof that everything is possible if you are determined and if you have a good work ethic."

Born in Medellin, Colombia, Giraldo was eight when he came to Canada, joining the Impact academy in 2015.

"It's a goal I set myself many years ago," he said of signing is first pro contract. "It's something that makes me very proud. It also allows me to follow a family tradition. I hope it's only the beginning of a great story."

Ferdinand, from Riviere-des-Prairies, Que., and Giraldo, from Montreal, both represented Canada at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019.

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