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North Carolina FC Signs Shane De Leon and Nicholas Holliday to Academy Contract

June 3, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - North Carolina FC News Release

Cary, NC - North Carolina FC has signed NCFC Youth standouts Shane De Leon and Nicholas Holliday to academy contracts the club announced on Wednesday. De Leon and Holliday will be available to train and play in first-team matches while maintaining their college eligibility.

In a continuation of North Carolina FC's youth-to-pro pipeline, De Leon and Holliday are the fourth and fifth players to sign academy contracts for the 2020 season and the 20th and 21stall-time player to sign an academy contract with NCFC's first team. They join Trace Alphin, Adam Armour, and Luke Hille, all of whom signed academy contracts in January.

"We are excited for these players and for the future NCFC Academy players that can benefit from our unique Youth-to-Pro club development structure and pathway," said NCFC Assistant Coach and NCFC Youth Boys Academy Director, John Bradford. "When you look at our NCFC roster of 24 players, you see five currently on USL Academy contracts from our NCFC Academy Program and five former NCFC Academy players who have come through the youth club and most of which are now entering their fourth or fifth years of being professional soccer players."

De Leon and Holliday will start training with the team under the small group protocol that is set in place for all USL teams.

De Leon is a Raleigh native and plays in the midfield. The recent high school graduate will have the opportunity to learn from the likes of team captain, Nazmi Albadawi and veteran Ben Speas.

"Shane has worked extremely hard over time and earned himself a spot in the group through his hard work, positive attitude, and overall ability," said Bradford. "I couldn't be happier for him and know this will be an important step in his overall development."

Holliday builds on to an already deep list of NCFC goalkeepers including Alex Tambakis, Paulo Pita, and fellow NCFC Youth and academy contract player, Alphin. The fourteen-year-old will be the youngest player to ever sign an academy contract with North Carolina FC.

"Nicholas has shown tremendous ability at a young age and responded well in every environment we have challenged him with, sometimes playing one to two age groups higher," said Bradford. "He is a motivated young man with high potential for the future. Having just turned 14 in January, we'll balance incorporating him into the professional environment while he continues to develop within our NCFC Academy Program."

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