New York Red Bulls Sign Academy Product Bento Estrela

Estrela signs as New York’s 24th and youngest Homegrown Player in Franchise History

HARRISON, N.J. (February 9, 2021) – The New York Red Bulls have signed Academy Product midfielder and New Jersey native Bento Estrela to an MLS Homegrown contract, presented by Premio. Estrela becomes the youngest New York Homegrown signing and the fourth-youngest signing overall in league history at the age of 14 years and 364 days.

“This is an exciting day for Bento and his family, and for everyone at the club as well,” said Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell. “Bento has stood out at the academy level and progressed quickly while playing with an older age group. By bringing him into our professional environment, we aim to maximize his development and give him the best chance to grow as a player and a person.”

Estrela joined the New York Red Bulls Academy in July of 2019 and has appeared in 22 matches. He scored his first goal for Red Bulls Under-19s at 14 years old against Philadelphia Union II on November 7, 2020. The Bloomfield, New Jersey, native most notably assisted on the final goal for the U-14’s in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur Academy to advance to the knockout rounds of ICC Futures tourney on December 12, 2019. Estrela helped the U-14s become the only MLS academy team to advance to the Round of 16 in the ICC Futures.

“We at the Academy are extremely proud of Bento’s progress over the last 18 months and are excited to see him sign his first professional contract with New York Red Bulls,” said Red Bulls Academy Director Sean McCafferty. “Although Bento is very young, he understands that this is just the beginning and that the hard work starts now. I’d like to take this moment to congratulate Fouad Kawtari for scouting and recruiting Bento to New York Red Bulls and also the Academy coaches/staff who work hard to challenge him every day to ensure we accelerate his development and ultimately help him fulfill his potential.”

At 14 years, 11 months and 30 days, Estrela becomes the third-youngest Homegrown signing in league history behind Chicago’s goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who signed at 14 years, nine months and 22 days. He is the 24th Homegrown Player in franchise history and the 26th academy product to sign with the First Team. Estrela is New York’s youngest Homegrown signing by 684 days, edging out Tyler Adams, who signed at 16 years, eight months and 21 days.

Transaction: New York Red Bulls Sign Bento Estrela to a Homegrown contract on February 9, 2021.

Bento Estrela

Position: midfielder

Height: 6-0

Date of Birth: February 10, 2006

Place of Birth: Bloomfield, N.J.

Citizenship: USA

New York’s Homegrown Signing History

– when they signed is in parenthesis

1. Giorgi Chirgadze (September 12, 2009)

2. Juan Agudelo (March 26, 2010)

3. Matt Kassel (January 25, 2011)

4. Sacir Hot (February 1, 2011)

5. Connor Lade (December 5, 2011)

6. Santiago Castaño (December 11, 2012)

7. Amando Moreno (December 11, 2012)

8. Matt Miazga (May 30, 2013)

9. Sean Davis (December 11, 2014)

10. Tyler Adams (November 3, 2015)

11. Brandon Allen (December 21, 2015)

12. Derrick Etienne Jr. (December 21, 2015)

13. Alex Muyl (December 22, 2015)

14. Mael Corboz (December 23, 2015)

15. Scott Thomsen (December 23, 2015)

16. Chris Thorsheim (December 23, 2015)

17. Evan Louro (January 23, 2017)

18. Arun Basuljevic (January 24, 2017)

19. Kevin Politz (January 3, 2018)

20. Ben Mines (January 8, 2018)

21. Omir Fernadez (January 26, 2019)

22. John Tolkin (January 14, 2020)

23. Caden Clark (October 10, 2020)

24. Bento Estrela (February 9, 2021)

Timbers sign midfielder Eryk Williamson to multi-year contract extension

February 3, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; Eryk Williamson signs a new contract. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed midfielder Eryk Williamson to a multi-year contract extension.

Williamson, 23, tallied three goals and five assists in a career-high 21 appearances (17 starts) for Portland in 1,417 minutes of action during the 2020 MLS regular season. Notably, Williamson delivered four game-winning assists during regular-season play, which ranked second in the league in 2020.

“Signing Eryk has been a key objective of the club’s for the past 12 months and we are delighted that Eryk’s belief in the club mirrors our belief in him,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and president of soccer. “Eryk is a unique talent and we are looking forward to seeing his continued growth and performance as a Timbers player.”

The Alexandria, Va., native tallied three goals and six assists in 26 appearances (22 starts) across all competitions for the Timbers in 2020. The midfielder tallied two assists in seven appearances (6 starts) in the summer’s MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Notably, Williamson registered the game-winning assist in the Timbers’ 2-1 win over Orlando City SC in the MLS is Back Tournament Final on Aug. 11.

February 3, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; Eryk Williamson signs a new contract. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers

“Eryk is an extremely talented and creative player with many great attributes on and off the field,” said Giovanni Savarese, Timbers head coach. “I very much believe in the development of American players and am incredibly excited to see him continue his career in Portland.”

Since his MLS Homegrown Player rights were acquired in a trade with D.C. United on Jan. 23, 2018, Williamson has notched three goals and six assists in 35 games played (25 starts) across all competitions for the Timbers. Additionally, Williamson tallied seven goals and 11 assists in 2,862 minutes played across 34 appearances (34 starts) for T2, on loan from the Timbers, in the USL Championship (2018-19).

At the international level, Williamson was most recently called in by the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team for a two-week camp from Jan. 9-24 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. While competing at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the summer of 2017, Williamson started four of the five matches, helping the U-20 USMNT advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.