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U.S. U-17 international Haji Wright signs with Cosmos




The New York Cosmos made a splash this offseason with the signing of Spanish legend Raul, and now the club has expanded its forward unit even further with the addition of an American rising star.

The Cosmos announced Monday that the club has signed U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team forward Haji Wright. The forward, who hails from Los Angeles, provided 18 goals and seven assists in 22 matches for the U-17s in 2014.

“I’m excited about joining the Cosmos,” Wright said in a statement. “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.

“Getting the chance to train with and learn from world-class players such as Raúl and Marcos Senna is any player’s dream.”

Wright, who was previously part of the LA Galaxy’s academy system, had also trained with the Bundesliga club Schalke. The 17-year-old forward has been a part of the U.S. setup since debuting with the U-14s in 2012 and was a part of the U-17 side that qualified for this summer’s World Cup in Chile.

“Haji is a very exciting prospect,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “He has some special attacking qualities and can play as a striker or on the wing and gives us some more options in the final third.”

What do you think of the signing? How will Wright fit in with the Cosmos? What do you expect from the young forward in the coming season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. As a mater of fact, I’m surprised many MLS players haven’t taken the chance of going to cosmos in NASL.
    Let’s say there’s about 100 players who hate garber and believe MLS is overrated and then join cosmos and win the open cup and champions. Then what would MLS do.
    Don’t get me wrong, those players can also go to San Antonio or Tampa but cosmos have the money and connections.

  2. It’s a very good move and if NASL had more cosmos in their league, then MLS would be thinking twice about their structure.
    For now it’s only cosmos with big money and dreams in NASL, and MLS won’t bend for just one team.
    Now back to this young gun, if he stays healthy and plays with heart with cosmos and with the national team, then he might end in Europe sooner than later. Also playing with a team name cosmos ain’t that bad if you ask me for connections around the world.
    I also wonder how much money will he be getting, in MLS he would have a contract and be send to USL but with cosmos he has no contract and open to walk out.
    But like I said before, only if NASL had more cosmos in their league.
    For now MLS will just point and direct the ship.

    • Seriously, internationally, playing for the Cosmos doesn’t carry as much weight as playing for the Galaxy, Sunders or even the Red Bull. Now, if they’re looking for an old, semi-retired, famous, has-been I’m sure the Cosmos is the first team that comes to their mind.

      • If you really think that playing for any MLS team carries international weight…well, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • Count as to what? Does MLS have a slightly higher profile now? Sure. But it’s playing in international competitions that gives players international weight, and if he can do that without playing in the MLS, it won’t affect his european possibilities.

      • Yeah, that’s probably not right. But I’m sure whatever deal he has, it’ll make it easier to go to Europe than it would have been with MLS.

  3. Wise choice by Wright and shrewd move by the Cosmos.

    Wright gets to sign with a team that is fairly close to MLS standard of talent where he stands a better chance of getting minutes, earns probably same or more in $$$, and doesn’t have to commit to a long 4 year contract owned by MLS…which means he has great control over his future at 18 or 18 to sign abroad.

    Cosmos get some publicity, possibly a player that can contribute something, and 100% of any future transfer.


  4. Analyze this and it makes sense, depending on the details. Wright just turned 17 a few days ago. Without a European passport he can’t sign with Schalke or anyone else until his 18th birthday, next March. So what does he do for the next year? Play in the U-17 World Cup. Then what? Hang out with Schalke’s youth teams and train? No games? If he signs with MLS he’s stuck with a longer contract at mediocre pay and loses his rights and powers to transfer to Europe. Should he go play in college for the fall season knowing he’s likely a one and done? In all, the Cosmos option may be the best if he can get some games and retain his ability to transfer to Europe when he turns 18.
    Not a bad choice and an intriguing option for young US players. Go directly to a NASL or independent USL team and retain some rights. An MLS team would likely loan you to their USL affiliate anyway.

    • well said. and if it plays out how we all expect it to, i see this becoming a major option for more youth players. not sure if NASL will want this to be the norm, but for top prospects like this, it’s not a bad idea.

  5. Bold move Cosmos. I hope he gets a lot of playing time. I’m more interesting in how the real of NASL keeps ups with the Cosmos and MLS expansion.

  6. I have said it over and over again and I know it will never happen because of the MLS franchise fees but we need all these leagues to come together and create promotion and relegation… even if it is simply a playoff between the bottom team of MLS and the top team of whatever is decided as the second league in the ladder…. these off shoot leagues do us no favors as a footballing nation…

    • If you’re a team owner that’s just paid $100 Million for a franchise, do you care more about making soccer better for the country, or protecting your own financial interests?

      Pro/Rel will never happen until soccer is so popular here that owners can still make money if they fall to a lower division.

      • Pro/Rel will never happen until soccer is so popular here that owners can still make money if they fall to a lower division.

        You said it there. Until there’s good money in that kind of system, it won’t happen. That’s all it’s about: money.

  7. Wow, saw the headline Wright signs with… surprised to see Cosmos! Well NASL we are watching, if this works out well could be a big deal. If not bad news for the league.

    And yes.. What Old School said

  8. The one stage of your career I’d suggest unapologetically take your moon shot is that first contract as a youth player. It’s more likely that you safely fall downwards (ok, now I’ll slum it and transfer to MLS) than upwards (having failed in the minors I will now try to convince MLS to sign me). I also can’t imagine the money is worse signing at a better place. This doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Probably as bad as signing with Traffic.

    • What’s as bad as Traffic is MLS’ policies towards younger players who don’t see themselves in their league long term.

      The Cosmos have a great infrastructure and a great staff. He’ll learn a lot more from Savarese and from within that locker room then he’d ever learn from Bruce Arena.

    • Once you sign with MLS, you give up having a say in where you go next. This is a smart move for a young player that doesn’t want to get stuck in a league that is horrible for young, talented players.

    • Simple…they won’t own his rights like MLS would do. Now he can go overseas whenever he wants without worrying that MLS will turn down suitors.

      • Really!?!?! Cosmos will absolutely own his rights for the duration of contract. Now, that contract is probably not 4 years. But don’t make it sound like MLS is the only place that signs contracts and holds you to them or try to get money if you do well and someone wants to buy you.

      • Allows him the chance to play in professional games before the U-17 World Cup in October. That’s where the European offers would most likely come from.

      • Do NASL players typically jump overseas? Is anyone overseas scouting or following the NASL and its players? Is this a realistic path for Wright (should he desire to play abroad)? I guess I don’t see it as jumping overseas “whenever he wants” but rather jumping overseas whenever he’s wanted. I understand that being on the Cosmos adds a certain something, but I’m worried that he won’t receive the visibility to make such a jump while playing in the NASL.

      • Is anyone overseas scouting or following the NASL and its players?

        Based on what I’ve seen, scouts from all over the world keep tabs on players as low as high school and college. If the player has talent, potential or value I don’t see anything restricting someone from scouting them. Including an NASL player.

      • Guys, shut up. Why are you all debating and hating on something when you don’t even know if it’s going to pan out. Give it rest and just read the article without adding your two cents that no one important cares about

      • No hate from me. I’m genuinely interested in seeing him succeed, and only wish the best for him as he moves forward with his career.

    • Sounds like he’s thought of that: “Getting the chance to train with and learn from world-class players such as Raúl and Marcos Senna is any player’s dream.”


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