BOSTON — The New England Revolution signed 16-year-old midfielder Damian Rivera to a homegrown contract Friday.
Rivera — nicknamed “Tico” — is the Revolution’s seventh homegrown signing all time and the youngest member of the first team.
He is from Cranston, Rhode Island — the same town that produced American center back Michael Parkhurst, who also represented the Revolution along with Atlanta United, Columbus Crew SC, FC Augsburg, FC Nordsjælland and the United States men’s national team.
Rivera has been with the Revolution academy for three years and has 90 combined appearances across the under-14, U-16, U-17 and U-19 levels. Last season, he led the U-19 side with a team-high eight goals in eight games.
“Of the many talented players we’ve observed in the Revolution academy system, Damian was among the first who distinguished himself as a player with the tools needed to succeed at the professional level,” sporting director-head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing him continue to develop and grow with the Revolution.”
Rivera’s next stop is Lakewood Ranch, Fla., where he will train from Nov. 11 to Nov. 19 with the U-17 U.S. national team under head coach Raphaël Wicky. The U-17 team will play three games during that stretch against the U-16 national teams of Turkey, Netherlands, and the U.S.
New England’s roster now includes six homegrown players: Rivera, Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Isaac Angking, Nicolas Firmino and Justin Rennicks. The Revolution will make a $10,000 donation to Rivera’s youth team, Bayside FC, in recognition of its contributions toward developing Rivera.
“I’m really happy for this opportunity. It’s a special moment for me to join the Revolution, the club I grew up watching in Rhode Island,” Rivera said in a statement. “The academy program and coaches have played a huge role in helping me get to where I am now, and now I’m looking forward to preseason, elevating my game, and seeing what I can contribute to the team.”