A strong year across the development pathway for Inter Miami added another achievement to its timeline today, with Benjamin Cremaschi becoming the fifth Academy product to sign a Homegrown deal for the First Team. The young South Florida native joined the Club in August 2021 and quickly passed from the Academy level, to MLS NEXT Pro, and now the First Team, making him the latest example for players across the Club’s youth ranks.
“We try to create a pathway for players who come here, starting with Academy Director Craig Dalrymple and the Academy staff and coaches we have at each level, then graduating on to Darren Powell and his staff with the Second Team, and then continuing on eventually to the First Team with Phil Neville and his staff. I think the pathway is there, it’s clear. Players know what they want to do, Benja is going to be an example now. He’s our fifth Homegrown Player signing out of our Academy. He will be an example, people will be watching and they’ll want to be the next Benja,” said Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson.
“I think as a young club, the work within the Academy, from the staff and all the coaches, they do a tremendous job. They work tirelessly every day to understand the big picture, in terms of us trying to get players through to the First Team. I think the next step for the Club is to have somebody from South Florida play regularly for the First Team. There’s no reason Benja can’t be one of the first to do so,” added Inter Miami CF II head coach Darren Powell.
Academy Director Craig Dalrmple also noted that Cremaschi’s demeanor and dedication are what allowed him to pass through the Club’s development pathway so quickly, and make him an exemplary figure for the Club’s other young players.
“When we recruit, we look for players to come in and take advantage of all the resources we can provide as a Club: competition, training, extracurricular activities, our holistic approach. Benja’s just come in and soaked that all up. He’s been open-minded and tried to put the best version of himself forward in every training session and every match, whether he’s playing with the U-17s, Second Team, or training with the First Team. He’s always just in it to win it. He’s a good role model for some of the younger players in the Academy,” said Dalrymple.
Each of the members of the Club’s staff who have spent considerable time with the young midfielder cited those same attributes as the characteristics that helped Cremaschi arrive at this moment, and ones they hope to see in future Homegrown signings.
“I think Benja’s biggest strength is his mentality. It doesn’t matter what game it is, or if it’s training, he always gives the maximum. He wants to learn. Every game he plays, he has a positive mentality and competes really well. That mentality has also helped him off the pitch, he’s a leader who tries to help his teammates do their best for the team,” said U-17 head coach Javier Morales.
“What you’ve seen with Benja is the ability to compete in every exercise, every game, and by doing that he’s able to impact the game with his skillset..He’s a very humble young man. Going into a new environment he’s able to connect with his teammates and he shows that and expresses himself on the field and leads by example every day,” said Powell.
“His core qualities match those of Inter Miami’s values. The ambition, collaboration, excellence, he kind of embodies those attributes. His approach to daily training, his approach to being a competitor in games, it always shines through. He gives his best effort all the time which is one of the reasons he’s maximizing his potential,” added Dalrymple.
Though Cremaschi has signed for the First Team, the work of the development pathway isn’t done yet for the midfielder.
“He still has so much he can learn in this environment. He has to go now and compete at the Second Team level, hopefully he can be a main contributor at that level as he was at the end of last season, and start adapting to the First Team demands and challenges, try and convince Phil [Neville] that he’s ready to compete and earn minutes at the First Team level. When he does, which I’m pretty sure he will at some point next year, then he has to learn from that, grow from it, and be better for the next opportunity after that,” said Dalrymple.
“From the Academy with Craig Dalrymple through the First Team with Phil Neville, we have a good integration with each other. He’s going to get opportunities each day to challenge himself, whether the environment is with the First Team or with MLS NEXT Pro, he will be challenged every day. His job now is to continue to focus on improving and progressing on his pathway and not get ahead of himself. You have to be adaptable on these first steps within the journey of a professional career and he seems very prepared for that,” added Powell.
As for the development pathway itself, the challenge is now to continue to produce players like Cremaschi, now with yet another example in the First Team ranks to serve as inspiration.
“It’s exciting because our Homegrown signings have all earned their opportunities within the Academy, MLS NEXT Pro and then into the First Team. We have a lot of talented players within the Academy and MLS NEXT Pro roster, and as they continue to embark on their journeys, the challenge is who will be the next one. It’s not an easy task to achieve what Benja has done, but the opportunity is there, the Club believes in these young players and is pushing them to prove it. We’re all excited within this environment to produce the next Homegrown Player,” stated Powell.
“There’s a large pool of players underneath Benja who want to replicate what he’s done. We believe there’s a number of those players who have a chance to replicate it. It’s really, really promising,” said Dalrymple.