According to a report coming out of Portugal, former Benfica goalkeeper Thierry Graça will sign in January for Orlando City and will be with the club for the next five years. Graça was the starting goalkeeper during Orlando's trip to Brazil when the Lions played a friendly in Rio against Flamengo. Our Portuguese is rusty, but it appears the report from the Record also says that Benfica will get 50% of the transfer fee if and when Orlando eventually sells him.
Graça is originally from Cape Verde, a small island off the coast of Africa that was colonized by the Portuguese. The keeper moved to Portugal, signing with AD Oeiras to play U-19 soccer, before moving to Benfica during the middle of the year. In 2014, Graça and current Orlando City players Rafael Ramos and Estrela signed professional contracts with Benfica which were supposed to last until 2020. As of today, Graça has only made one professional appearance in his career, playing for Benfica B in a 1-1 draw against Santa Clara.
After the latest roster moves for Orlando, bringing in a 20-year-old goalkeeper is probably going to leave a lot of fans scratching their heads. Bringing in a keeper with little to no professional experience after dropping Tally Hall with years of professional matches under his belt seems a bit backwards. However, new Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro, who came from Benfica, probably believes in this kid, having seen him play for a few years in Portugal. The only question is, can Graça translate his game from they Benfica B team to MLS? Time will tell.
For a point of reference, here are some of his career highlights.