New York City FC is never afraid to invest in the youth, so it is not surprising that one of the summer signings is a Homegrown player. On Thursday, the Pigeons announced the club signed Drew Baiera to a Homegrown contract. The 16-year-old joined the academy with the U12s, and has been moving up ever since.
Baiera is a right-back, and has been playing with the U17 team as of late. However, he was called up to the MLS Next Pro side, and made his first few appearances with the team. His solid performances and growth led NYCFC to make the move, and sign him with the first team.
NYCFC signs 16-year-old Drew Baiera
As such, the young NYCFC player is signed through 2027, and has an option for 2028. He will likely see more MLS Next Pro appearances, and spend most of his time with what can be considered the second team over the next year or two. This will allow growth and investment in his development, which is something the club has been doing over the last few years.
The Sporting Director, David Lee, has this to say about the new signing:
"We are delighted that Drew has signed his first professional contract with NYCFC. Drew is a dynamic, attacking minded defender that can also make an impact in the final third. Since a young age, we have seen his dedication and professionalism both on-and-off the pitch."- David Lee
Moreover, Baiera’s signing is further proof that the NYCFC academy is one of the stronger ones in the United States. He is the twelfth Homegrown signing, and perhaps he will be the successor to both Tayvon Gray and Mitja Ilenič, for both right-backs will likely leave for greener pastures down the road.
He even attributed the academy to his success and reason why he was able to sign with NYCFC.
"I am excited to be signing with NYCFC. It’s everything I worked for. I dedicated myself to the game and that’s what brought me here today. Since I joined the U12, the coaches, staff, and the environment have led me to this moment. It’s an Academy that teaches you the right way to play football and has developed me into the player I am today. "- Drew Baiera
It might be a few years before Baiera becomes a part of the first team, but the talented defender has the time to grow and develop. It will be interesting to see what his future holds with New York City FC.