FC Cincinnati have signed homegrown forward Stefan Chirila through the 2028 MLS season with an option for 2029, the club announced Tuesday.

The 17-year-old, whose MLS Homegrown Priority rights were acquired from the Philadelphia Union, will play the remainder of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season with FC Cincinnati 2 before joining the first team in 2025.

“We’re proud to have signed Stefan to his first professional contract,” FCC general manager Chris Albright said in a press release. “Stefan’s success is a testament to his hard work, as well as the work done by our academy staff and MLS NEXT Pro staff. He already possesses great instincts around goal, and we’re excited for his continued development at FC Cincinnati.”

Chirila has ascended rapidly through Cincinnati’s youth system, scoring 41 goals across all competitions during the 2023-24 season. At the 2024 Generation adidas Cup, he was a Best XI selection and the Golden Boot winner for the U-17 age group, leading Cincy to a perfect 3W-0L-0D record as the Orange & Blue to the knockout stages for the first time in club history.

Chirila has made seven MLS NEXT Pro appearances, scoring four goals – including match-winners against Columbus Crew 2 and New York Red Bulls II – and adding two assists.

Since debuting just over two months ago, he has already earned two MLS NEXT Rising Star recognitions (Matchweek 9, Matchweek 10), helping FC Cincinnati 2 come within one point of first-place Philadelphia Union II for the top spot in the conference.


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