If you don’t know the name “Diego Fagundez,” get ahead of the curve on this kid.
Most MLS fans know of him, at least, if they don’t quite know the New England Revolution’s 18-year-old crackerjack attacker.
The Revolution’s first homegrown player, Fagundez signed his initial contract for the senior team almost three years ago, in November of 2010. He’s been steadily on the rise since – but this year has merged into history-making territory.
The Uruguayan-born teenager, still slight but plenty tough, scored goal No. 11 last week, an important second-half equalizer in an eventual 2-1 Revs win over D.C. United.
The Revolution’s communication staff did some digging and came up with these relevant (and revealing) stats and facts:
- Fagundez is the only teenager in MLS history to score 10 or more goals in a season. He is also the youngest player in league history to score at least 10 in a season.
- Eddie Gaven’s 16 total MLS goals as a teenager is best yet. Fagundez has 15 now, matching Jozy Altidore’s teen total (for second best all-time in the league). Of course, Fagundez could play 30-plus more league matches before he climbs out of his teen years, so it’s safe to say he’ll claim that mark (barring a move overseas, of course).
- Freddy Adu, who broke into the league at age 14, still scored only 12 times in MLS as a teenager. Andy Najar, formerly of D.C. United and now with Anderlecht, hit 10 before his 20th birthday. Eddie Johnson and Mack McInerney had eight each as teens. There have been more teen scorers through the MLS years … but those are some for comparisons sake.
- Fagundez is currently fifth in league goal scoring (among teens, 20-somethings, 30-somethings … all of them, that is) and has arrived there without benefit of being the team’s penalty kick taker. Of the scorers in front of Fagundez among MLS leading hit men, Camilo (three), Marco Di Vaio (three) and Robbie Keane (five) all have significant boosts through goals from the 12-yard spot.
There’s more, but that’s a good start as you consider what the young man has already accomplished. Plus, I’ll say this:
Some teenage sensations are pronounced as “being there” already upon arrival. Clearly, we all learned something about expectations and premature pronouncements of greatness with the Freddy Adu fiasco. Probably something with Altidore and perhaps Juan Agudelo, too.
Fagundez, whether by thoughtful design or just by happenstance, is actually earning his media props along the way. Heck, he’s setting historic marks, and still there are plenty of focused, domestic soccer fans don’t know much about the guy.
This is how it needs to be done – not the other way around.