Forward Matheus Maia, 18, debuted for Los Angeles FC 2 (LAFC), the US MLS Next Pro club affiliated with the MLS Cup champs.
It was a great day for Matheus, the young Brazilian who arrived in Los Angeles earlier this year to be a part of the first year’s MLS Next Pro’s roster. Late last month, the player suited up to play his first game against the Portland Timbers 2 in his first match during the inaugural season of the Los Angeles development club.
Maia also drew a start in the club’s recent loss to San Jose Earthquakes 0-1, with the striker playing alongside Christian Torres and Nathan Ordaz, both with some experience suiting up with the main team.
The #LAFC2 Starting XI vs. @EarthquakesII.— LAFC2 (@lafc_2) April 30, 2023
Today’s lineup is presented by @FLEXpowerna. pic.twitter.com/OBC0cEaIwz
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Maia joined the North American team through the Brasil MLS Combine project, a novel project in South America, aiming to connect scouts with young Brazilians wanting to take their game to Major League Soccer. At the end of 2022, scouts from Charlotte FC, FC Cincinnati, Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, and LAFC were in the training centers of São Paulo and Palmeiras to accompany young talents from the bases of Brazil’s best clubs. In addition to the hosts, Coritiba FC and Ituano, a local team, participated in the matches, providing players.
Born in Cabreúva, in the countryside of São Paulo state, Maia came up through the youth systems of Cruzeiro and Ituano. He stood out at the Brazil MLS Combine and was chosen after several reviews with scouts and development.
The project’s idea came from Felipe Guimarães, head of operations at 4ComM, a company specializing in the agency and career management of football players, who developed the plan with businessman Fábio Francez, from F3 Sports, and Ricardo Silveira, CEO of 2SV Sports.
He’s a very good kid, not only on the field, but also shows great character off the pitch.Felipe Guimarães – 4ComM
“We were happy for him to go work in the US. That was the purpose of our project, to create opportunities for young talents here in Brazil to develop in other markets. May him be the first of many,” said Felipe.
Photo: Source/Brasil MLS Combine.