Orlando City signed former Development Academy midfielder Jordan Bender to a homegrown contract, the club announced Thursday.
“Jordan’s journey is the blueprint of exactly how we envision the pathway and future of the Orlando City SC development pyramid,” said Orlando City EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. “As a player who started in our academy, made his way to OCB and has now signed with our MLS team, Orlando City is in his blood. He has also trained and played in preseason games with the first team, so he understands what it takes to succeed in MLS.”
“We are extremely excited about the potential and upside that Jordan possesses and we look forward to him continuing to grow within our organization.”
Bender previously played with Orlando City B of USL League One where he made 16 appearances with 12 starts.
The Lake Mary-native was part of Orlando City’s pre-academy when he was 12 before officially joining the Development Academy a year later where he played for the U-13/U-14 team through the U-19 team.
In 2017, Bender received his first call-up to the U.S. U-16 Boys’ National Team, joining the team for its February training camp.
Bender, 18, becomes the seventh homegrown player in Orlando City’s history, joining the likes of Tommy Redding, Tyler Turner, Harrison Heath, Mason Stajduhar, Benji Michel and David Loera — most recently.
For Orlando, Bender becomes the team’s third offseason acquisition so far after signing Andrés Perea (19) and David Loera earlier this month.
Current Orlando City roster
Goalkeeper (2): Brian Rowe, Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders (6): Kyle Smith, Ruan, João Moutinho, Kamal Miller, Alex De John, Robin Jansson.
Midfielders (7): Oriol Rosell, Jhegson Sebastián Méndez, Robinho, Mauricio Pereyra, Andrés Perea, David Loera, Jordan Bender
Forwards (6): Dom Dwyer, Nani, Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, Santiago Patiño, Benji Michel.
Out on Loan: Josué Colmán at Cerro Porteño (Primera Division, Paraguay).
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