Christian McFarlane became the third young player to sign an MLS contract. (Phooto courtesy of NYCFC)

NEW YORK- New York City FC Thursday announced that it signed Academy product Christian McFarlane to a Homegrown contract through the 2026 season with an option for 2027.

The 14-year-old defender is the sixth Homegrown signing in club history, and since the Academy was formed in 2015. At 14 years and seven months, McFarlane is the third youngest player to sign a first team contract in MLS history.

McFarlane was born in Basildon, England and moved to New York City when he was three-years-old, spending most of his childhood in Queens and Long Island. He joined the NYCFC Academy from JIGS Soccer Training School in 2018 and most recently played for the NYCFC Under-17 team in the MLS Next League.

“This is a very proud moment for me and my family and I’d like to thank everyone at NYCFC for the hard work and for believing that I will continue to improve,” McFarlane said. “I am ambitious and will work hard every day, but I know it will take time to make in impact on such a talented team. Since a very young age, it has been a dream of mine to be a professional soccer player, and there is so much I want to achieve in the game. I don’t think I could be in a better place to continue my development and achieve my dreams.”

McFarlane is the latest Homegrown to develop through the NYCFC Academy system, which has produced some exceptional talent, including James Sands who won the Gold Cup with the USMNT this summer and recently received this first MLS All-Star nod.

“It really motivates me seeing [James] play,” McFarlane said. ‘’It is not just about the way he plays on the pitch, but the way he conducts himself with such professionalism off it. One day, I also hope to set an example for others to follow.”

Added NYCFC sporting director David Lee said: “We’re really happy to sign Christian as he becomes our sixth homegrown player to join our First Team. It is always an exciting moment when we sign talented players from the New York area who have developed through our system, and we’re really excited for Christian and his family.”

“Christian initially came into our U-12 group and he has developed quickly through the Academy. He is at an earlier stage of his development than our previous Academy signings and initially will continue to train and play with our U-17 team, but we are excited that he has committed to become a professional at this young age. There is a development plan in place for him over the coming years and we are looking forward to supporting his development to maximize his potential.”

The 6-foot, 139-lb. McFarlane joins a growing list of emerging talent produced within the Academy system including James Sands, Joe Scally, Justin Haak, Tavon Gray and Andres Jasson. Prior to McFarlane signing a contract, NYCFC Academy products have combined to play 96 MLS games for the Club. “We couldn’t be prouder of the quality of players that our Academy is producing.”