CARY, N.C. (Sept. 28, 2023) – North Carolina FC today announces the signing of 17-year-old Adrian Pelayo to a professional contract, pending league and federation approval. Pelayo was signed by North Carolina FC prior to the league’s roster freeze last Friday.
A highly coveted prospect, Pelayo has been recently called up to the Mexican U-17 Youth National Team after having a previous call-up to the United States U-17 Youth National Team, also in 2023. Pelayo most recently competed with the Portland Timbers Academy and earned professional experience with Portland Timbers 2 of MLS Next Pro.
Pelayo participated in the Portland Timbers first team training camp prior to the 2023 MLS season and continued his development with the academy and Timbers 2 MLS Next Pro team. His call-up into the Mexican U-17 national camp next week comes ahead of the upcoming U-17 FIFA World Cup later this fall.
“This has been a dream of mine since I started soccer and I’m really excited to sign my first professional contract, especially at a club like NCFC. From my first day here, I really enjoyed the environment and the club’s transparency about their intentions and the vision that they have for their younger players. I don’t like thinking too much about the future, but my goal is to play in a top league and be able to live that experience and make my family proud,” Pelayo says.
“A big part of our club philosophy is providing the best path for young players to grow, develop, and prepare for their professional career. Our track record of having a highly competitive training environment and connections with clubs, both domestically and abroad, allows us to attract elite young talent like Adrian. His trust in us as the launching pad for his professional career is a huge validation of the success and potential of our global strategy,” said head coach John Bradford.
Pelayo has begun training with North Carolina FC ahead of his national team commitments next week. He will then have trialist opportunities at various Liga MX teams in the following weeks. Pelayo has citizenship in Mexico, Argentina, and the United States.
He will be on site at WakeMed Soccer Park for NCFC’s crucial home match with Union Omaha on Friday, September 29, with a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff. Tickets for the showdown of the top two teams in the league standings are available here. The match will stream live on ESPN+.