Orange County Soccer Club recently announced the signing of 14-year-old standout Francis Jacobs, who became the youngest male to sign a professional contract in United States soccer history. The Laguna Beach native joins amid interest from multiple European clubs.
“Francis is a special Orange County talent and has shown a maturity on the field way beyond his years,” said President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Oliver Wyss. “He is the perfect model of player to develop in our pathway to professional program that we have established here in Orange County. The entire organization is committed to providing him with guidance, training and support as he begins the first step in what we believe will be a long professional soccer career. Our training environment will allow him to learn every day from our experienced technical staff and play alongside top pro players, some of which have played on the highest international level in Mexico and Europe. Francis has a bright future ahead and we are proud to have him and his family as part of Orange County SC.”
“I am very excited for Francis, who is a young and gifted local talent, to join our team,” said Head Coach Braeden Cloutier. “I’ve been really impressed with his poise and ability on the ball that he’s shown us these past few months. This is a great opportunity for Francis, and also an exciting challenge for the entire Orange County SC technical staff to do everything possible to help him reach his fullest potential.”
Jacobs joins OCSC following a successful stint with Irvine Strikers, where his performances earned him national team call-ups with both the United States U-14 National Team and, most recently, as a participant in the 2018 U.S. Junior National Team camp. Jacobs becomes the youngest ever professional after inking his deal at 14 years, 4 months, and 29 days.
Jacobs will now look to follow in the footsteps of Orange County SC teammate Aaron Cervantes, who signed his first professional contract aged 15 years old prior to the 2018 USL Championship season. This year, Cervantes has become a regular in goal for OCSC recording eight appearances and two shutouts while splitting time with the United States U-17 National Team.
“It is really exciting to be playing for Orange County SC,” said Jacobs. “I would like to thank Mr. Keston, Oliver and Braeden for giving me this special opportunity. I want to make everybody who has helped me get here proud and I am looking forward to the future.”
Having trained with Orange County SC and clearing eligibility requirements for USL Championship play, Jacobs was eligible to take the field as early as Aug. 17 against Las Vegas Lights FC.