Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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USYNT defender moving from Sporting KC academy to USL club amid Werder Bremen interest, sources say

USL side Birmingham Legion is set to sign U.S. youth national team defender Ramiz Hamouda, according to multiple sources briefed on the deal.

Hamouda, 15, had plenty of interest within MLS, as well, but will get his professional career started in the USL. The Sporting Kansas City academy product was not offered a homegrown deal, but the New York Red Bulls offered to trade for his homegrown rights. That deal ultimately did not come off. Other teams including the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew were interested, the sources said.

Hamouda, a left-footed center back, went on trial with the Werder Bremen under-19s last fall and impressed during his time there, but was unable to sign a contract until he turned 18 due to FIFA rules. He will turn 18 on May 26, 2026. Hamouda’s contract will run through Dec. 31, 2026, allowing him to sign in Europe shortly after his 18th birthday. Expectations are that Hamouda will eventually land back at Bremen, the sources said.

Hamouda is the latest example of an MLS academy product signing in the USL, a trend that is beginning to ramp up. USL teams have shown the willingness to give young players first-team minutes and then move them on to Europe, and even MLS, in recent years, which has made the second-division league a legitimate landing spot for young players.   

Among examples over the past few years are Louisville City’s Jonathan Gomez, an FC Dallas academy player, who was transferred to Real Sociedad; Kobi Henry, who played for both Orlando City and Inter Miami academies before signing with Orange County and eventually being moved to Stade de Reims; and Diego Luna and Fidel Barajas, both San Jose academy players who signed with El Paso Locomotive and Charleston Battery, respectively, before transferring back into MLS with Real Salt Lake.

(Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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