Orlando City announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Favian Loyola to an MLS NEXT Pro contract. The 17 year old has been playing with OCB on an academy contract to this point. This new deal makes him a professional with the club.
“We are very excited for Favian to take this next step in his career,” Orlando City Technical Director and Assistant General Manager Ricardo Moreira said in a club press release. “Following his success with the academy, Favian’s move to Orlando City B epitomizes the pathway we are working to create from MLS NEXT to MLS NEXT Pro and hopefully one day to the first team. We’re looking forward to watching his progression as he continues with OCB the rest of this season.”
Loyola has played in eight games this season for the Young Lions, recording three goals. On July 17 in Bridgeview, IL, the midfielder scored a second-half brace to help OCB turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win.
On Aug. 10, Loyola took part in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game, an event for academy products during the MLS All-Star festivities. The Orlando City Development Academy product nearly scored for the East, hitting the crossbar in the 71st minute. However, he sparked the comeback as the East beat the West, 2-1, and he was named the game’s MVP.
Internationally, Loyola has been called up to the U.S. U-19 Men’s National Team two times this past year, most recently taking part in the team’s camp in Carson, CA.
What It Means for Orlando City
Loyola is arguably the brightest young prospect for Orlando City. The teenage midfielder has been excellent when he’s had the chance and is coming off of probably his best game of 2022. Even though he didn’t score, Loyola dominated in the midfield, showing excellent ball control in tight spaces and finding Neicer Acosta and Moises Tablante on the outside.
This deal means that Loyola will likely not attend college, but will instead look to go the direct-to-professional route. Orlando City signing him to this deal means that the club rates him as a potential first-team player sometime in the future.
At such a young age, Loyola still has a lot of development ahead, so don’t expect to see him playing with the senior team in the near future. However, he’s one of the OCB players to keep an eye on as a potential Homegrown Player signing for the MLS side down the road. He hasn’t played much yet for the Young Lions, but he should see more minutes with his recent performances.