FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Most high school seniors never get the chance to sign a professional sports contract. All the more rare is the instance when it happens twice before graduation.
But on Wednesday, 18-year-old Diego Fagundez put pen to paper for the second time in three years, signing a multi-year extension with the New England Revolution. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the club, per league and club policy.
Fagundez, who attends night classes at Fitchburg High School, originally signed with the club in November 2010 at age 15 following a sensational two seasons in the Revolution Youth Academy.
“He’s a guy that we wanted to try to lock in for the ... I say the long-term, even (though) when his current deal expires, he’ll still be a young player,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said on Wednesday. “The timing was just right for us, and obviously it was right for him.”
The same could’ve been said at the time the club originally came to terms with him in November 2010. As one of the country’s most promising prospects in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, the club knew it had to act quickly before he was lured overseas.
Entering his third professional season, the front office realized it would be beneficial to negotiate with their teenage sensation. Even though he had just turned 18 last month, Burns knew there was interest abroad.
Given that, the Revolution general manager admitted that he was somewhat surprised that he was able to re-sign the talented teenager before his initial deal expired.
“A little bit, given that he had another year after this,” Burns said. “I wasn’t sure which route he would want to go, but we’re obviously pleased that he wanted to remain here.”
According to Fagundez, who was born in Uruguay before he and his family moved to the U.S. when he was five, staying local was one of the primary reasons behind his decision to re-sign.
“I like the environment here, and my family (does too),” Fagundez said on Wednesday. “It’s a nice country and I just need to get all my stuff sorted out. It’s kind of hard to just grab all of your stuff and just move away."
Fagundez has come a long way since his MLS debut -- a debut that saw him score and set up a penalty in the waning minutes against Chivas USA on August 6, 2011.
Although he hasn’t become a fixture in Jay Heaps first XI, the 18-year-old’s ability to inject life into the attack through his creativity and cunning runs is often the hallmark of a player on the precipice of greater success.
“The collective feeling amongst the organization is that he obviously has an upside,” Burns said. “Now it’s up to him to find a way to make it as difficult as he can on Jay to play as often and regularly as he can.”
Fagundez understands he could have tested the international waters and sought to find a place where he could get regular playing time. While he was comfortable in his current role with the Revolution, he admitted that his decision to sign on the dotted line wasn’t a hasty one.