Orlando City announced this afternoon that the club has signed defender Michael Halliday as a Homegrown Player. The 17-year-old right back is the eighth Homegrown Player to sign for the club and the third this calendar year, joining midfielders David Loera and Jordan Bender.
Halliday joined Orlando City’s development academy in 2016, playing for the U-13 side. In the following years, he made his way up the developmental ladder, playing for the U-18/19 team last year. He signed with Orlando City B for the 2020 season and spent the preseason with the first team. The delay of the USL League One season due to COVID-19 meant that Halliday never appeared for the club’s developmental side.
“Michael is another example of the vision we have for the future of the Orlando City development pyramid, making the journey from the academy to our MLS side,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “After starting out in our academy and signing with Orlando City B, Michael has been able to train with our first team, including during our time in Mexico this preseason. He has continuously showcased his potential and we are very excited to see him continue to grow as a member of our club.”
The 6-foot tall Orlando native played at right back during his time in the academy. At 17 years, five months, and 23 days, he’s the youngest player to be signed by Orlando City since center back Tommy Redding in 2014. Redding was 17 years, one month, and 15 days old when he signed a Homegrown Player contract with the club heading into its final year in the USL.
Orlando City currently has five Homegrown Players on the senior roster: Halliday, Loera, and Bender, forward Benji Michel, and goalkeeper Mason Stadjuhar. The previous three Homegrown Players — Redding, Harrison Heath, and Tyler Turner — have all since moved on from the club in recent years.