New York City FC announced Tuesday that defender Tayvon Gray has signed his first professional Major League Soccer contract, becoming the first Bronx native to sign with club.

The 17-year-old and U.S. youth international became NYCFC’s fourth player to graduate from the Academy ranks, joining James Sands, Joe Scally and Justin Haak.

NYCFC calls Yankee Stadium in the Bronx home.

“I’m very excited to sign for New York City FC,” Gray said. “I’m a Bronx kid and this is my hometown team. So to start my professional career in New York City is a dream come true.

“When I first heard about NYCFC, they were very new, but once I saw what they were all about, I definitely wanted to play for them. I’ll be proud to represent my team in the Bronx. My family is still here, so it will be very exciting to have them at games.

“There are too many people to thank. I’d like to thank God, my family for the support and love to help me get to this point, and everyone in the Academy staff. I’ve learned from some incredible coaches and played with some great teammates over the years and I wouldn’t have been able to get here without them.”

Gray has been a centerpiece of the NYCFC Academy since joining the Club in 2017 with the Under-17 team. In 2019, he anchored the backline on the U-19 team, which became the first side to win back-to-back U-19 U.S. Development Academy national championships.

“Tayvon’s been in our Academy for the past few years and really developed over the last 18 months and we couldn’t be more excited for him to join our First Team and be with us for the future,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said

“Signing the contract is the first step for him to continue his development. He’s got a lot of potential and can play a number of positions—we’ve seen him play as a center back, a right back and in holding midfield—so we want to support his development and help him to maximize his potential.

“We’ve seen him as a future Homegrown player for a while and we’re really delighted to get the signing completed.”

Gray started two matches for the U.S. U-17 national team at the recent FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.