Orlando City announced this afternoon the signing of midfielder David Loera to a Homegrown Player contract. Loera came out of Orlando City’s development academy and has spent the last three years playing at North Carolina State University.
After coming through the Orlando CIty Academy, Loera signed an academy contract with Orlando City B for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In 2016, he played in three games and recorded an assist. The following year, he played in five games and started one. In 2017, he was ranked 59th in the Boys’ IMG Academy Top 150.
Following his graduation from high school, Loera decided to attend North Carolina State University. “The coaching staff was the best fit for me to make it to the next stage, a professional career,” Loera said after arriving in North Carolina. The 21-year-old midfielder was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2017, First Team All-ACC in 2018, and Second Team All-ACC in 2019.
“We are thrilled to sign David to a multi-year Homegrown contract,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “It is imperative for us to continue to grow the talent here in Central Florida and to work toward creating a pathway from our Development Academy to the first team and David is an example of just that. He possesses great vision and control on the ball and we are very excited about his addition to our roster.”
Loera started 57 games for the Wolfpack in his three seasons in Raleigh. He scored nine goals and recorded 15 assists. Four of his nine goals were game winners, including all three of his goals in 2018.
Muzzi has stated that signing Homegrown Players will be an emphasis heading into the future. Loera is the sixth Homegrown Player signing for the club and the third to come out of the academy. Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, and Harrison Heath were signed prior to the team’s inaugural MLS season in 2015. They later signed goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar and forward Benji Michel to Homegrown contracts.
What it Means for Orlando
Loera probably won’t make an immediate impact out of college but this is a big step in the right direction for Orlando City. He’s a promising and skilled attacking midfielder, which is currently an area of need for the Lions and he’ll have an opportunity to train with and learn from the likes of Nani and Mauricio Pereyra every day, which can only help with his development.
By continuing to show commitment to the club’s academy players and former players, Muzzi is sending the right message. It will be interesting to see how Loera’s professional career turns out. But for now, here’s a glimpse of what he can do.