16-year-old Barca Residency Academy midfielder Brooklyn Raines has signed his first professional contract with MLS club Houston Dynamo FC.
“The emotions I’m feeling right now are unreal, I’m very thankful for this opportunity that Houston Dynamo has given me,” said Raines. “They have a lot of confidence in my abilities and that’s what makes me excited for what’s to come in the future. Without a doubt, I know this is going to be a fantastic experience especially at a young age.”
A native of Oak Lawn, Illinois, Raines joined Barca Residency Academy from Inter FC Chicago in 2018 at the age of 12 after impressing the Barca staff during its annual winter camp. Age though has never been a factor on the field for Raines as he’s played up, several age groups, and made waves nationally and internationally on his path to the professional ranks. Raines earned call-ups with the USMNT U14 and U15 teams, he secured trials at FC Barcelona’s La Masia in Spain in 2018 and 2019, and he made his professional debut in the USL Championship on October 17, 2021 with El Paso Locomotive during his four-month loan to the club.
“Barca Residency Academy has granted me so many opportunities throughout my time with them,” said Raines. “They are the reason why this is happening. Without their help I would not be where I am, or the person I am today. The coaching staff has played a huge role in my life. The fact that they have been patient with me and took time to help become a better player is just amazing. I couldn’t have done this without their help.”
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Raines, the No.3 player in the class of 2023 according to Top Drawer Soccer (TDS), helped Barca Residency Academy’s U19 MLS Next team advance to the Round of 16 in the 2021 MLS Next Cup Playoffs after entering the tournament as the undefeated No.1 seed. He earned Honorable Mention on TDS’s MLS Next Cup All Age Group Best XI for his standout playoff performance. This season, Raines and the U19s have enjoyed a top two position on TDS’s Team Ranking over the past four months. Most recently, Raines was selected to compete in the U17/U19 MLS Next “Best of Match” in December at the MLS Next Fest.
“Brooklyn is a special player, it was clear even at that young age that he had massive potential as a player and that he fit our style of play perfectly,” said Barca Academy Director Ged Quinn. “He has continued to grow and develop in our system over the last few years and it has been extremely rewarding to see him begin to fulfill that potential as he prepares for the next step into the professional game.”
Raines joins Houston Dynamo just one game into the team’s preseason schedule that features eight games in various locations through February 19. Four of the games will be played in Tucson, Arizona just 70 mile south of Raines’ former home for the past four years, Barca Residency Academy.
“It is bittersweet from our end to have Brooklyn move on from our academy, he has been a pleasure to work with and his infectious personality will be sorely missed around campus,” added Quinn. “That being said, we are extremely excited to see Brooklyn take the step in his career as he signs with the Houston Dynamo and we look forward to tracking his future success in the game. Quite simply put, we could not be prouder of him.”
The Houston Dynamo under the direction of new head coach Paulo Nagamura will open their 2022 regular season at home against Real Salt Lake on February 27.