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FC Cincinnati signs Stefan Chirila to 2025 homegrown deal

Stefan Chirila celebrates his go-ahead goal, putting FCC 2 ahead 1-0. Photo by David Starcher.

As was initially reported by The Athletic’s Tom Bogert and officially confirmed by FC Cincinnati on Tuesday, the club has formally signed academy standout Stefan Chirila to a homegrown contract.

According to an FCC news release, Chirila, only 17 years old, will sign a 2024 MLS NEXT Pro contract that will run until the end of this season, after which his MLS contract will start in 2025. The news release said the deal will go until 2028, with an option for 2029.

“We’re proud to have signed Stefan to his first professional contract,” Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati general manager, said. “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 went through the Philadelphia Union Academy before joining the club’s academy in 2023. He impressed quickly, winning the Golden Boot in the GA Cup and earning a spot in the tournament’s Best XI. Across all youth competitions for the 2023/24 season, he scored 41 goals.

He has made seven appearances thus far for FC Cincinnati 2 in MLS NEXT Pro. In those games, he has already scored four goals at that level, including one in the Heck is Plausible derby and a brace against the New York Red Bulls II.

In an interview with Youth Soccer Central (YSC), they described his potential in the team:

“Obviously, Chrilia is a serial goalscorer. He is only a 2007 so it will take a bit for him to be integrated into the first team. That being said, there is nothing that points to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to score loads of goals one day.”

YSC also commented on how they viewed his position.

“His main position is a striker,” they said. “I would compare him to the likes of Haaland or Benzema just a great eye for goal.”

Noonan has been cautious in his approach with youngsters, letting them grow into themselves before giving them significant minutes. But, there is still every chance he’ll be good enough to contribute in 2025, especially with questions surrounding the striker core. It is a move for the future, and if he hits the ground running, one for the not-so-distant future.

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