Youth has been served compliments of a San Diego teenager soccer sensation and the city's professional men's soccer team.
The San Diego Loyal Soccer Club on Wednesday announced it has signed 15-year-old Duran Ferree, a Loyal Select goalkeeper and San Diego native, to his first-ever professional contract.
The historic signing establishes Ferree as the first local product to move through the SD Loyal development pathway to a professional contract with the team. It also makes him the youngest player in the team's history.
"For me, it's a huge blessing being in this situation where I am a homegrown player and being in San Diego. It's huge for me," Ferree said. "I love being here and being able to play soccer professionally here is awesome. I love it."
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A standout player at San Diego Surf Soccer Club, the 4S Ranch native first joined the Loyal Select team on April 22, 2021, and quickly progressed through the team's development program. After a standout season with Loyal Select, Ferree signed a USL Academy contract ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season. Training every day with the first team, Ferree has continued to reach new heights and saw his first inclusion in the SD Loyal 18-man roster on April 30, 2022, at Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Ferree, who attends Del Norte High School, is obviously not your average professional soccer player. He still goes to school and has to balance homework and tests with training, practice, games and travel.
"Throughout the week I'm doing homework and when I am traveling for away games I have to do homework on planes or hotels and try to get that stuff done when I have time."
When asked what's harder stopping a penalty kick or taking a math test? Ferree laughed and answered, "math test."
SD Loyal Team Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Landon Donovan has seen firsthand Ferree's progression and is proud of the 15-year-old’s dedication and commitment along the club’s professional pathway.
“Since we established the Loyal Select program and have now signed seven youth players to USL Academy contracts, our objective has remained unchanged — our goal has always been to provide a platform for our region’s top youth players to maximize their development and reach their highest potential to ultimately one day play for SD Loyal,” Donovan said. “Duran is the first of many talented players that our club will continue to develop and sign to a professional contract.”