Orlando City made another addition to the 2022 roster, this time from the academy with fullback Alex Freeman. The 17-year-old is Orlando's 12th homegrown signing. Freeman is the sixth homegrown signing on the current roster, the second right back signed in the last year, joining Michael Halliday.
Freeman is a native of Ft. Lauderdale, home of Inter Miami, but has been in the Orlando City academy, most recently playing 30 times for the under-17 team that recently won the MLS Next National Championship.
In the release from the club, Orlando City general manager Luiz Muzzi mentioned how Freeman will be getting consistent minutes with Orlando City B in MLS Next Pro, and will train with the first team. In other words, this is a signing for the future, not 2022. Freeman will see most, if not all, of his professional game time with OCB.
That's not a shocking development, if for no other reason than Orlando City has three other right backs on the roster. It also gives the first real insight into the makeup of the revamped OCB roster for the upcoming MLS Next Pro season.
Freeman is tall for a fullback, standing at 6'2", and with that physical profile, could end up playing some center back at some point in his career. He also produced quite a bit offensively at the youth level, with eight goals and 15(!) assists with the u-17s.
Alex Freeman is the latest in a line of talented young defenders to sign homegrown contracts with Orlando City, following Halliday and Thomas Williams. This core group of academy players, from that u-17 championship team and across the academy, could be the first real standouts from the Orlando City academy. For the first time in Orlando's history, there's a steady stream of academy players heading to the first team, and a lot of them seem to have legitimate potential. Hopefully Freeman will be another piece of an upcoming onslaught of talent from the rejuvenated Orlando City academy.