Just days after announcing that former academy and Orlando City B prospect Pierre Da Silva had signed an MLS contract with Orlando City’s first team, the club announced this morning academy forward Joe Gallardo has signed a USL contract with OCB, following down the path that Da Silva traveled down over the last year.
“Joe signing to OCB is a great reflection of the competitive level and the quality of the coaches in our Pro Academy,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said in a club release. “I look forward to Joe helping our team this season.”
Gallardo made some headlines in recent months when he joined Orlando City’s academy, scoring three goals in seven appearances for Orlando City’s U-17/18 academy team in 2016. A hat trick recently against Weston FC helped propel the side to the No. 1 ranking in the nation.
The San Diego, CA, native, who turned 19 years old on Jan. 1, represents another step forward for the Orlando City organization, which has now signed three academy players to professional contracts in the past year, following Mason Stajduhar’s Homegrown Player contract and, as already mentioned, Da Silva’s MLS contract. Da Silva was also signed to an OCB contract last year, making 23 appearances with five assists and two goals for the 2016 season.
“We think Joe will play a big role on our team this season,“ Lions General Manager Niki Budalic said in the release. “Joe has excelled at each level he’s played at and we’re excited to see his continued development this season.”
In addition, he’s represented the United States at the U-15, U-17, and U-19 levels, and also played for the U.S. in the U-17 World Cup in 2015.
A rising star in U.S. Soccer, Gallardo is an immense talent with loads of potential and a name that Orlando City fans should be watching for over the next year or two as he lines up week in and week out for OCB, and maybe — just maybe — for the Lions’ first team in MLS some day.