Chivas USA has been training considerable talent the past couple years, and one more indication came last week, when Chivas USA Youth Academy player Josh Perez signed with Serie A club Fiorentina. Top Drawer Soccer's J.R. Eskilson first spread the news, verified to him by Perez's father last week. According to the report on the signing on Top Drawer Soccer last Wednesday, Eskilson says the deal for the 15-year-old is for three years. Perez is also sponsored by Nike.
Perez played with the Chivas U-16 team the past couple of years, and has been a frequent call-up to U.S. youth national teams and camps. He verbally committed to play college soccer at UCLA this winter, but it always seemed unlikely he would actually make it to college without signing a pro contract first.
Eskilson reported that Perez was pursued by multiple major European clubs, including PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan. He opted to go with Fiorentina, and he previously went on trial with the viola last year before returning to Southern California.
Perez's departure makes the second major European signing among Chivas USA Academy players in the past few months. Forward Ben Spencer finally signed his pro contract with Norwegian club Molde after turning 18. On one hand, losing two players who signed pro contracts with European clubs is great to see, as it demonstrates the quality of some of the talent in CUSA's youth system. At the same time, it also shows that Chivas USA are not benefitting in their first team from the presence of such illustrious talent. While we have previously discussed the sticky situation that Spencer was in within the USSDA regarding his Homegrown status, it was pretty obvious he probably wasn't going to get a Homegrown contract with the Goats. And if Perez is drawing interest at 15 and is currently regarded as likely the very best player in his age group in the U.S., he also was probably not likely to sign a deal with Chivas USA, in part because I assume he's already making more money than he would in MLS.
At any rate, congrats to Josh, and best of luck in making his way to the Fiorentina first team one day!
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