Vancouver FC Signs 15-Year-Old Grady McDonnell To Pro Deal
Vancouver FC has broken its own record for signing the youngest player league history, with 15-year-old midfielder Grady McDonnell signing a three-year professional contract today.
The Surrey, British Columbia native was picked up by Vancouver FC after having progressed up to the U-17 level in the Whitecaps Academy system, where he routinely suited up against players a few years ahead of his own age.
We had labelled the youngster as a top Canada U-15 prospect to watch out for following his performances at the Concacaf Boys U-15 Championship, where he earned four straight starts and bagged a brace against the Dominican Republic.
“I’m incredibly humbled and excited for the opportunity to compete in a professional environment at my age,” adds McDonnell himself. “This kind of opportunity is what I’ve always wanted and the fact that I’m able to achieve this goal with my hometown team, and to play in front of my friends and family, is all I could ask for.”
The dual-eligible youngster has also captained the Republic of Ireland at the U-15 level, and last October saw him feature for their U-17 side a the UEFA Championship qualifiers, too.
Evidently, McDonnell is a highly-rated youth prospect that Vancouver FC has splashed a fair bit of faith on.
“We continue to illustrate our commitment to investing in the top local youth players, and Grady is definitely one of the best BC has to offer,” says VFC boss Afshin Ghotbi.
“I am thrilled to coach one of the most talented young players in Canada and I believe VFC will provide the education and pathway for Grady to realize his footballing dreams.”
The club has a notable number of teenagers on professional contracts, with 16-year-old TJ Tahid already having one season of pro football under his belt, while 18-year-old defender James Cameron has gone on several trials abroad following his rookie campaign.
With Vancouver FC handing Gray a standard player contract that runs through to 2026, Ghotbi has shown Grady McDonnell plenty of faith in his expected development, so it’ll be interesting to see how the 15-year-old – who will be 16 prior to the start of the season – performs at the pro level.
Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier