FC Cincinnati announced on Wednesday the signing of academy player Beckham Sunderland to its first-team roster. He is available for selection for the rest of the 2020 MLS regular season. The 17 year-old goalkeeper becomes the first FCC Academy player to sign a first-team contract with the club and will be classified as a Homegrown Player. Beckham Sunderland is the son of FC Cincinnati director of player development Larry Sunderland.
Sunderland has trained with FC Cincinnati’s first team since the club returned back to the Queen City following its exit from the MLS is Back Tournament. Based off his performance during first-team training sessions, FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp believes that Sunderland has earned his spot on the first-team roster.
“We are happy to be able to sign our first FC Cincinnati Academy product to a first-team contract as a Homegrown Player,” said Nijkamp in a club media release. “We decided to keep Beckham with our first-team group this year in training as opposed to with our academy to be able to make a better assessment of him. Based on his performance and his ability to adapt to the professional environment, we feel he has earned an opportunity within our roster.”
Sunderland joined FC Cincinnati’s Academy during the program’s inaugural season in 2019-2020, making a combined nine starts in net for the U-16/17s in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. Prior to joining FC Cincinnati’s Academy in 2019, Sunderland also spent time in the Portland Timbers and Chicago Fire FC academies.
Beckham Sunderland becomes the fifth goalkeeper on FC Cincinnati’s first-team roster, joining Przemysław Tytoń, Spencer Richey, Bobby Edwards, and Ben Lundt (currently out on loan at Louisville City FC).