North Texas SC signs 15-year-old midfielder Leonardo Orejarena from Barca USA Academy

North Texas SC has signed midfielder Leonardo Orejarena from Barça Residency Academy USA to an MLS NEXT Pro contract through the 2025 season with a club option for the 2026 season.

FC Dallas acquired Orejarena’s MLS Homegrown Priority from the Chicago Fire FC in exchange for $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) for 2024, with the potential for an additional $300,000 in General Allocation Money based on performance-based incentives in MLS. Chicago will also receive a sell-on percentage if Orejarena is transferred outside of MLS. 

Orejarena, 15, joined the Chicago Fire FC Academy as an 11-year-old and played for the Fire Academy from 2019-22.

Orejarena joined the Barça Residency Academy USA program located in Casa Grande, Arizona for the 2022-23 seasons. During his time at Barca USA, Orejarena played in the 2022 MLS NEXT Fest. Orejarena registered 40 appearances, netting 20 goals and 15 assists for Barça during his two seasons. 
“Leo is a highly skilled and dynamic player who is eager to make a significant contribution to our club,” said North Texas SC General Manager Matt Denny. “We are dedicated to recruiting and developing young talented players and Leo’s signing exemplifies this commitment. We are putting [together] an exciting and competitive roster for the upcoming season.”
Orejarena earned his first international call-up to the U.S. U-16 National Team camp held in Chula Vista, California on August 18, 2022. He earned a second call-up to the U.S. U-17 National Team for a training camp in 2023.

3rd Degree’s Take

Orejarena has a profile similar to Alan Velasco, a false-wing or attacking 10. For FC Dallas to send that relatively large amount of money for his homegrown rights at this stage tell you a great deal about the club’s expectations.

This is the next phase of Homegrowns pathway. Rather than signing a 15-year-old to a first-team contract and having them wait around for three years – like a Bryan Reynolds of Paxton Pomykal – instead FCD is signing them to North Texas SC and holding their homegrown rights.

This deal lumps Orejarena in with players like Diego Garcia (sign from El Paso Locomotive Academy) and Ale Urzua (from the FC Dallas Academy).
Full Name: Leonardo Orejarena
Preferred Name: Leo Orejarena
Pronunciation: oh-reh-HA-reh-nah
Connect with Leonardo: Instagram
Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: November 10, 2007 (15)
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Nationality: American, Colombian, and Polish
Height: 5’6”
Weight: 140 lbs.
Last Club: Barça Residency Academy USA
Transaction: North Texas SC signs midfielder Leonardo Orejarena to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract through the 2025 season with club option for 2026.

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