Inter Miami CF made history on Dec. 18, 2020 when they announced the signing of an Academy player to a Homegrown contract with the First Team in Felipe Valencia, a first for the Club. Now, the Club has taken another step in this direction, signing two more products of the Inter Miami CF Academy presented by Baptist Health - Edison Azcona and Ian Fray - and one player from Fort Lauderdale CF - Dylan Castanheira. The Club reaffirmed that it is committed to not only developing young talent but giving them opportunities at the next level. As the ownership group has emphasized, Inter Miami’s commitment to its development pathway is one of the pillars of the Club.
“I always knew that was going to be the culture and DNA, and what created the community of our Club. Yes, we want to bring great players and great names into our Club, but the DNA of this Club has to be what comes through our Academy system. The potential of the young guys we have here is huge,” said Inter Miami CF co-owner David Beckham. “There’s nothing prouder than seeing a homegrown player come through our system and playing at the highest level.”
“We are proud of Ian, Edison and Dylan for earning MLS contracts. As a staff with Fort Lauderdale CF and the Academy, we are delighted to see these guys progress and develop with us over the past year or so. The pro player pathway is a very real opportunity for all the players in our Academy, USL and in the South Florida area to see,” added Inter Miami CF Director of Player Development Darren Powell. “Ian, Edison and Dylan have all shown good character with their daily approach to training and games, always playing with the correct mentality, intensity and ambition. We will continue to push all our players in our development system so that if an opportunity presents itself for the player, they are always ready to make that ‘NEXT’ step on their soccer journey!”
Though the trio played together on the Club’s USL League One side Fort Lauderdale CF in 2020, Castanheira’s path was different; he signed for Fort Lauderdale in 2020, impressing enough to earn a contract with Inter Miami,showing that the Club’s development pathway offers several different routes to the MLS level.
Castanheira won Save of the Week three times during the 2020 season and started 11 games for Fort Lauderdale CF this past season. Powell, who also served as an assistant coach for Fort Lauderdale CF, was inspired by Castanheira’s leadership throughout the team’s inaugural campaign.
“He really applied himself during every training session and every game. As a senior player on Fort Lauderdale CF, he truly led by example with his daily approach to the game. It’s something that any coach would appreciate,” said Powell.
Azcona, a 17-year-old winger, was named to the USL League One All-Second Team and was a finalist for USL League One Young Player of the Year in 2020. In 1,284 minutes played, Azcona scored three goals and recorded three assists with Fort Lauderdale CF.
“Edison has a good character and is a great person with a really strong work ethic. He certainly has an exciting future with the team with his ability to create shots, distribute the ball for chances to score and also looks to recover the ball very well,” said Powell.
Fray played nine games with Fort Lauderdale CF in 2020 and shined at his center back position. He finished the season with 23 clearances, four blocks, 12 interceptions, and 13 tackles. He also closed the season with an impressive 86.5 pass accuracy rating. Fray previously trained with the First Team during preseason in 2020.
“He impressed the coaches with his composure on the ball, his ability to read the game, and his recovery speed on the pitch is very good,” said Powell.
Fans can follow the Inter Miami Academy journey online by following the Twitter account @InterMiamiAcad or via Instagram @InterMiamiCF_Academy.