Orlando City has signed 18-year-old midfielder Jordan Bender to a homegrown contract, adding him to the ranks of fellow homegrown products Benji Michel and David Loera.
Bender rose through the ranks of the Orlando City youth development system from the ground up, starting in the team’s academy and then playing for Orlando City B. He trained with the senior team throughout the 2019 season and played with the Lions during the preseason.
“Jordan’s journey is the blueprint of exactly how we envision the pathway and future of the Orlando City SC development pyramid,” Orlando City executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a news release. “As a player who started in our Academy, made his way to OCB and has now signed with our MLS team, Orlando City is in his blood. He has also trained and played in preseason games with the First Team, so he understands what it takes to succeed in MLS. We are extremely excited about the potential and upside that Jordan possesses and we look forward to him continuing to grow within our organization.”
Bender is a native of Lake Mary and first joined Orlando City through the club’s pre-academy program at age 12. He moved up through the academy before signing with Orlando City B team at age 18 for the 2019 USL League One season. The midfielder made 16 appearances throughout the season, along with playing for the senior team in the Orlando City Invitational.
He has also received a call-up to the United States U-16 team.