In the most high-profile signing to date of a home-grown player, FC Dallas has signed 17-year-old Bryan Leyva to a professional contract.
Leyva, a member of the FC Dallas Juniors program, had previously spent time training at Lille in France and Racing Santander in Spain and been linked to teams across Europe and Mexico.
He spent the past season playing the FCD Juniors in the Development Academy's U-15/16 age group, where he was an all-conference selection. He helped FCD advance to Finals Week, where he scored four goals in four games, and also take second place in this year's MLS/SUM U-17 Cup.
"Signing with FC Dallas is a dream come true," Leyva said in a statement. "The Juniors program has helped me in my development as a soccer player, and I want to thank my teammates for their support in getting me to this point. This is a very exciting day for me and my family, and I look forward to working with the first team in the future."
Leyva was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and came to the United States in 2000. He played in the ODP system but is not a U.S. citizen. He is currently with Mexico's under-17 national team preparing for the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria later this year.
In July 2009, the MLS Board of Governors approved an amendment to the rules governing the signing of youth academy players. MLS clubs will receive two additional roster slots that may be used to sign academy players during the 2009 season.
Home-grown players will not count toward the 24-player roster limit but may not play in league games in 2009.