Orlando City may gave gotten its goalkeeper of the future.
The club signed its fourth Homegrown Player in Mason Stajduhar to an MLS contract, promoting him from the U.S. Soccer Development Program, the club announced today.
The 18-year-old is a Central Florida native and one of the most highly-regarded players in the country, ranking fourth at his position, per TopDrawerSoccer.com.
"This is a great moment for our Club and for Mason, who has continued to improve his skills and confidence as a goalkeeper," said General Manager Paul McDonough in a club press release. "We place a great deal of energy and resources into developing young players like him, who can be a part of our monumental growth and share in our successes both on and off the field. We are confident in his ability to step up and learn from his teammates. Also, special thanks to our academy coaching staff for their efforts in preparing Mason for the next level."
Stajduhar has been a mainstay with the club, partaking in the club's U-16, U-18 and U-23 academy teams over the past two seasons. He was named to the U-18 USSDA Best XI team by U.S. Soccer for his 2015 season.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound keeper will likely start with Orlando City B in the USL. But his MLS contract contract affords him the opportunity to bounce up and down between OCB and the MLS team. However, with star goalkeeper Tally Hall returning from knee surgery, and Earl Edwards Jr. and Josh Ford already with the club as well, it is unlikely Stajduhar will see many opportunities with the first team, unless something happens to Ford and Edwards.
Given the number of injuries the club endured this past season, the club probably can never have too many options.
Stajduhar joins Tommy Redding, Harrison Heath and Tyler Turner as the club's first four homegrown players. The club may also announce Raul Aguilera Jr. as a fifth HGP in the near future.