Charlotte FC signs 16-year-old Concord native to ‘homegrown’ contract

CHARLOTTE — Following his memorable debut with the club, 16-year-old Concord native Brian Romero is one step closer to his dream of becoming a professional soccer player after signing a “homegrown” contract with Charlotte FC.

On July 20, the academy player came off the bench in the final minutes of the club’s friendly matchup against English Premier League giants Chelsea FC at Bank of America Stadium. The attacking midfielder drew a penalty, which was converted by Daniel Rios to tie the game.

In the end, the home team upset the Premier League powerhouse 5-3 in penalty kicks.

Now, Romero is making another memorable move by becoming the club’s first player to be promoted from the academy to sign a professional contract. The homegrown contract is through 2026 with an option for 2027.

“Brian is a tremendous young man who loves to play football and has a hunger to become the best player he can be. He’s shown his talent at the academy level and for the youth national team and has the potential to become one of the country’s top talents,” Charlotte FC Sporting Director Zoran Krneta said in a news release.

“This is a signing for our future. Brian still has to grow and adjust to senior football, but we have a specific plan for his development, and he will be learning under coaches with a true passion for mentoring and developing young players. We have worked since 2020 to develop our own talent throughout the Carolinas and to sign the first homegrown player in Club history is one of our proudest moments.”

Romero joined Charlotte FC’s academy in 2020 as a 14-year-old from Charlotte Soccer Academy. He was one of two academy players to train with the first team during preseason preparations in Charleston and has been invited to continue training throughout 2022 season. He was also recently selected to the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game, which will take place on Aug. 10 during the league’s All-Star festivities in Minnesota.

“Becoming Charlotte FC’s first homegrown signing is a dream come true,” Romero said. “It’s an emotional moment for me and my family and I’m very excited for what is to come as a professional.”

“Youth development is at the core of our Club philosophy, and it has long been our goal as a Club to develop the top talent in the Carolinas. This milestone is a testament to the hard work from everyone in the academy across talent identification, coaching, off-field education and beyond,” said Technical Director Bobby Belair. “As we continue to grow as a Club, we couldn’t be more excited to build on this moment for many years to come.”

Romero will be presented to fans during halftime at Wednesday’s match against D.C. United.

(Watch below: Charlotte FC defeats Chelsea FC in penalty kicks)