Academy News: Austin Amer Signs with Orlando City B; Becomes First Barça Residency Academy Player to Turn Professional
March 4. 2019
Barça Residency Academy is pleased to announce that Orlando City B has signed midfielder Austin Amer to a USL contract. Amer, 19, becomes the first Barça Residency Academy player to sign professionally since the academy’s inception in 2017.
A Florida native, Amer moved across the country to join Barça Residency Academy for his senior campaign during the academy’s inaugural 2017-18 season. Amer emerged as a top midfielder in the Barça Residency Academy system last season and elected to return to the academy for a gap year. “I came back for my gap year for a couple of reasons,” said Amer. “I was still undecided if playing college soccer was exactly the right path for me. I knew that our U19 team would be extremely strong with all the returning players back for another year after making a deep DA playoff run [the year prior].”
This season, Amer helped the DA U-19s to a hot 8-0-1 start that earned them the No. 1 spot on the Top Drawer Soccer National Rankings prior to the annual U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) Winter Showcase.
It was at the DA Winter Showcase in December where Amer impressed Orlando City scouts and talks of signing with OCB began.
The official signing was announced on February 20, 2019, when OCB announced their 2019 USL League One Roster.
The roster is made up of 22 players, six players from the Orlando City Development Academy, eight players from their respective youth national teams and a slew of NCAA players. Amer is one of three Development Academy players to sign with OCB who were not currently in the OCB system.
“We are very excited to work with this talented group of young players,” said OCB General Manager Mike Potempa. “We’ve worked extremely hard to sign athletes we believe have the potential to one day play for the First Team utilizing our professional training environment and the competitive match structure within USL League One.”
“I am very excited for this opportunity, I feel that this is a direct result of playing at Barça Residency Academy,” said Amer. “Coming back this year was very beneficial for me as a player as our team was ranked between No. 1 during that time which resulted in more exposure and being offered opportunities at very good colleges as well as the pro coaches from Orlando City coming out at the December showcase to watch us play.”
Amer further commented, “Making the decision to attend Barça was a huge reason why I ended up signing with Orlando City, the residency academy really gives players opportunities to take their game further, whether that means playing at a great college program or even higher.”
“Barça helped me become a better player by being in a full-time soccer environment with excellent coaching, advice, and training. Competition within the team on a daily basis and also having an extremely tough game schedule in our division helps to create a better player. I am just the first of many who will sign professionally.”
Amer and Orlando City B will open the season at home on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET against FC Tucson.
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