The team of Raul now is also the team of Haji Wright. On Monday, the New York Cosmos announced that they had signed the USMNT U-17 prospect.
Exact terms of the deal beyond the length were not immediately released.
In a statement released to the press Wright said, “I’m excited about joining the Cosmos. The team plays with an attacking mindset that fits my style and I think it’s the perfect environment for the next stage of my development.”
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Wright comes to the Cosmos after having played in both the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Schalke Youth Academy systems. He has also been a regular in the U.S. Soccer Youth Academy system, having featured for the USA for various age groups since getting his first call-up in 2012.
More recently he has been a member of the USMNT U-17 team. He scored 18 goals and tallied seven assists for the U-17s in 2014. He was also a member of the side that recently qualified for the U-17 World Cup that will take place later this year in Chile.
Although he is just 17 years old he has already shown an immense amount of promise at a very young age. As a forward he has height and speed and has shown instances of pace. As he continues to grow he should be able to develop the other points of his game. Playing with players like Raul and Marcos Senna will certainly help him in the long-term.
In the short-term, this deal should also benefit Wright. Even if he goes out on loan, Wright will be gaining professional experience rather than sitting on the bench or with a youth academy of a European club. Although the NASL might not be the best league in the world, it is certainly a competitive league with many quality players. The level of defending is also more advanced and will give Wright a chance to improve his skills against more seasoned competition.
For the New York Cosmos there is also very little downside to this deal. Wright is their first USMNT signing and at the age of 17 he is only going to improve. Having a prospect that they can build their team around helps them also shake off the stigma that they are also into only signing aging European players.
If Wright can develop into a top quality striker the Cosmos will also have the luxury of being able to resell him. Although that sounds a bit depressing the truth of the matter is that a player’s peak value in the transfer market is 21-22. At that time if they were to receive a strong offer from a European team then the Cosmos will have the chance to make back double what they iniatially invested in him.
As for the 2015 season, it is unknown at this point if Wright would be going on loan to a lower division team or if he would be starting with the Cosmos. Either way this is a win-win scenario for both the player and the team.