Soccer News of Sat, 27 Jan 20181

Ghana’s Jacob Akanyirige makes MLS history

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Jacob Akanyirige, a 15-year-old USA-born Ghanaian defender, is making waves in America’s Major League Soccer, after becoming one of the youngest players in America’s top tier football league.

Akanyirige whose parents both hail from Ghana already plays for the U.S. U-18 National Team but can still switch nationality and play for Ghana since he is yet to play for the senior national team of the US.

Last month, the San Jose Earthquakes signed Jacob Akanyirige to a Homegrown Player contract, making him the youngest-ever signing by the Earthquakes, the third-youngest player currently in MLS (Gianluca Busio – SKC, George Bello – ATL) and the eighth-youngest to ever sign a pro contract in league history.

“Jacob has shown an incredible amount of potential at such a young age,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “We challenged him to play above his age this year and were impressed by his maturity and technical abilities. We are confident he will continue to develop with regular First Team training exposure.”

Akanyirige, 15, joined the Quakes’ U-15 squad ahead of the 2016-17 academy season from Ballistic United SC. He has been competing for the U-19s in 2017-18, despite being age-eligible for the U-17s.

The Pleasanton native becomes the fourth Homegrown Player signing in San Jose’s history, and first directly from the team's academy, after midfielder Tommy Thompson ahead of the 2014 season, defender Nick Lima ahead of the 2017 season and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski earlier this month.

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Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – Earthquakes sign D Jacob Akanyirige to Homegrown Player contract.

Jacob Akanyirige

Position: Defender

Height: 5-11

Weight: 157 lbs.

Born: Dec. 30, 2001

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Hometown: Pleasanton, Calif.

Last Club: Quakes Academy U-19

College: N/A

Roster Designation: Domestic

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