Junior Flores, a Northern Virginia teenager who has emerged as one of U.S. soccer’s top young players, has signed with German Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund, his father told the Insider on Thursday night.
Flores, 16, agreed to a four-year deal that will go into effect in March 2014, when he turns 18. The paperwork was completed last week, Oscar Flores said. He also signed a two-year contract with Nike, effective immediately.
His son, a central attacking midfielder, is in his second year of full-time residency with the U.S. under-17 program in Bradenton, Fla. The squad is currently competing at the AGS Cup in Spain.
Before entering residency, he was a freshman star at Manassas Park High School and helped the Cougars to the 2011 Virginia A state championship.
After a breakout performance with the U.S. under-17 squad at an international tournament last winter, Flores began attracting interest from MLS and foreign clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. MLS offered him a Generation Adidas contract in January with a low base salary and substantial bonuses, his father said.
“We got a lot of calls from MLS,” Oscar Flores said, “but it was way less money than Dortmund was offering.”
Until he turns 18, Junior Flores will continue practicing and attending school in Bradenton. He will report to Dortmund for informal workouts during breaks in his schedule.
Flores’s parents have Salvadoran roots, but Junior was born in Los Angeles and is committed to representing the United States on the international level.
“We’re so happy” about the Dortmund deal, Oscar said. “We still don’t believe it’s really happening.”
Flores is the second player with D.C. ties to commit to a major European club in the past year. Midfielder Gedion Zelalem, a 15-year-old German-born midfielder from the Olney Rangers youth program who played one season at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, is slated to join English Premier League titan Arsenal in January. Arsenal is also eyeing Maryland-based midfielder Jake Rozhansky, from the U.S. under-17s.
Paul Tenorio wrote this profile of Junior Flores in December 2011.