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Sacramento Republic sign first ever academy product, Roberto Hategan

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Republic crack open the talent pipeline between academy and first team with momentous signing.

Gallery: Sacramento Republic FC vs. Orange County SC - 1 April 2017
Tower Bridge Battalion members chant after Republic FC defeated Orange County SC on Saturday evening at Papa Murphy's Park.
Joseph de Ocampo/Indomitable City Soccer

Sacramento Republic announced this afternoon that they have signed 16 year-old midfielder Roberto Hategan, the club’s first ever academy product. According to the team’s press release, Hategan’s contract is a two-year USL contract with a club option for 2019.

Hategan was quite the success for Republic at the academy level, scoring 20 goals in two seasons for the academy. He also was called up to the US Youth National Team U-16s in April last year and has made two appearances.

Today’s signing is a huge step forward for a Republic team that has operated its academy program for only a few years. It is still fairly rare to have a professional team in the US outside of MLS to even have a development academy, much less have a player from that academy under contract for the first team.

Paul Buckle echoed that sentiment somewhat in his statement on the signing.

Signing our first Academy player to a professional contract, especially at such a young age, shows just how much faith we have in Roberto.We look forward to developing him as a player and have faith in his potential. This signing is another positive step for the club and would not be possible without the investment and shared vision of our ownership group, led by Kevin Nagle, to provide the talented youth of our region a pathway to the professional game. — Paul Buckle

While Hategan is the first Republic Academy alumnus to sign for the first team, he is not the first one to sign a professional contract. Ryley Kraft signed a professional contract with Orlando City B earlier this season.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact, if any, Hategan will have on the 2017 USL season. If he is going to see first team action, it is likely to come during any friendlies the club plays later this month.

Regardless of how much of an immediate impact he will have, it is incredibly exciting to have Hategan on Republic’s roster. It not only speaks to the potential he has, but to the Sacramento region’s potential as a hub of player development.

For now, I’ll just leave you with a couple highlights of Republic’s newest — and youngest — player.

Congrats, Roberto. We look forward to seeing what you can do for the first team.

What do you think about today’s momentous signing? Let us know in the comments below.