The Houston Dynamo didn't have a high pick in the 2009 MLS Draft but the Western Conference power still might boast one of the most exciting young players coming into MLS this season.
The Dynamo has completed the signing of U.S. Under-20 star Felix Garcia, acquiring his rights from the PDL Laredo Heat for an undisclosed fee, sources confirmed to SBI on Tuesday night. Houston is set to introduce the 18-year-old striker as its newest signing at a press conference on Thursday. Garcia will join the Dynamo as a member of the MLS Generation adidas program.
(UPDATE- Garcia was acquired by Houston through the MLS Allocation process. The Dynamo completed a trade with Toronto FC to move up from No. 10 to No. 3 in the allocation order, where it was able to land Garcia.)
Profiled last year in this story by ESPN.com colleague Justin Rodriguez, Garcia has emerged as one of the most exciting attacking prospects in the U.S. Under-20 national team pool. a 6-foot-1 striker with speed and gifted technical ability, Garcia is still a developing talent but he joins a Dynamo squad with the type of leaders to help him adapt.
Garcia should also benefit from the presence of U.S. Under-20 national teammate and fellow Generation adidas signing Danny Cruz, who the Dynamo selected in the third round of the MLS Draft.
So how did Garcia wind up with the Dynamo rather than in the 2009 MLS Draft?
Garcia signed a pro contract with the Laredo Heat, which allowed him to be acquired outside of the draft despite being just 18. Garcia signed a contract with Major League Soccer as a Generation adidas player and was acquired via allocation. It remains unclear what compensation MLS gave Garcia's team, the PDL's Laredo Heat, but sources tell SBI that MLS did compensate Laredo in its acquisition of Garcia.
What do you think of the signing? Are you anxious to finally see the young talent so many scouts have been buzzing about? Think an 18-year-old striker can come in and produce for a top MLS team? Is the youth movement in Houston a bit of a surprise?
Share your thoughts below.