04 May Julian Gaines Signs Pro Contract with Las Vegas Lights FC
May 4, 2021
Casa Grande, Ariz – Barça Residency Academy forward Julian Gaines signed his first professional contract with USL Championship club and LAFC affiliate partner, Las Vegas Lights FC, the club announced on Monday. Gaines, 18, is the tenth Barça Residency Academy player to join the professional ranks directly from the academy.
“I’m feeling very excited and blessed to have signed with Las Vegas,” said Gaines. “I am extremely excited to get to work and continue to develop as a player.”
Originally from Austin, Texas, Gaines joined Barça Residency Academy in 2019 with plenty of high-level soccer experience under his belt having competed with the United States U-15 and U-17 Youth National Teams after a standout youth career at Austin club Lonestar SC.
“From day one I knew I had a new family with bonds that’ll last a lifetime, that’s something that I think is so unique about Barça and sets it apart from other academies.” said Gaines. “It’s prepared me to play at the next level because I was challenged every day, that helped me establish an identity for myself while playing. I was also able to get a bit of taste of a professional environment because of the standard that is expected there.”
Gaines helped the Barça Residency Academy U-19s to a successful 2019-20 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season that was unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic. He retuned for the 2020-21 season where he has played a major role in the U-19’s current success. Barça Residency Academy’s U-19s are currently undefeated in the MLS NEXT and are ranked the No. 2 team in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.
“Nobody deserves this opportunity more than Julian does and with his ability, work ethic and attitude it is no surprise that he is making the jump into the professional game,” said Barça Residency Academy U-19 Head Coach and Academy Director Ged Quinn. “He has been a true role model to the younger players within our club and exemplifies the core values that we look for within our players. We are extremely proud of Julian and wish him the best of luck as he takes the next step in his soccer career, we look forward to tracking his continued success in the years to come.”
Congrats @JulianGaines17 , one of the most talented and honest young men you will see in the game who has a massively bright future ahead of him… great excuse for a road trip to Vegas to see some games alongside the rest of the Barça Academy alumni! https://t.co/yDR8KxEY5A
— Ged Quinn (@GedQuinn83) May 4, 2021
Gaines will suit up alongside 2019 Barça Residency Academy graduates Frank Daroma and Roberto Molina on Wednesday night when Las Vegas Lights FC opens their 2021 USL Championship season against LA Galaxy II in Carson, California. The game is set to kickoff at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.