March 21, 2022 – Major League Soccer (MLS) – Houston Dynamo FC News Release
HOUSTON – Houston Dynamo FC signed forward Thiago using the new MLS U-22 Initiative on a year-long loan from Flamengo, the largest club in Brazil, the clubs announced today. The loan includes an option to purchase the left-footed wide attacking player, who will join the team after receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
Thiago, whose full name is Thiago Fernandes Rodrigues, joins the Dynamo after representing Flamengo and Clube Náutico Capibaribe in more than 60 matches across all competitions in Brazil. He also represented Flamengo at the U-20 level and joined the pilot U-18 Brazilian National Team for a training camp in 2019.
“Thiago is an exciting young talent joining us from one of the biggest clubs in the world. We anticipate that he will compete for minutes this season with the hope of earning a permanent spot with our club next year,” said Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad. “The city of Houston already attracts some of the most talented people in the Hemisphere to our world class energy, medical, and aerospace industries, and our club’s recruitment efforts are no different. We want to be the preferred gateway for high potential players from North, Central and South America and help them realize their dreams of playing at the highest levels.”
The 21-year-old made his senior debut with Clube Náutico Capibaribe in December 2018 and scored the lone goal in Náutico’s 1-0 victory over Newell’s Old Boys from Argentina in a friendly. He would go on to score eight goals in his first season as a professional to lead Náutico to promotion to Brazil’s Serie B. At the regional level, Thiago was named the Campeonato Pernambucano de Futebol Revelação (Best Newcomer) in 2019 after his breakout campaign in the state tournament where he led Náutico to the final.
“The club is excited to welcome Thiago and add a player of his quality to our roster. He is a high-potential player that can change a game with his approach and determination in the final third,” Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura said. “We look to furthering his development here in Houston and showcase what our club is doing for players like him to maximize their potential.”
The winger was transferred to Flamengo on Jan. 2020 and began the year with Flamengo’s U-20 squad. He returned to Flamengo on loan that summer for the remainder of the year.
He returned to Flamengo in 2021 and finished with nine appearances at the senior level in all competitions, leading them to the regional championship in the Copa do Brasil that season and finishing with five appearances in that competition.
With the addition of Thiago, the Dynamo is the fourth player 23 years or younger from North, Central or South America signed during this winter window, including Sebastian Ferreira (Paraguay), Brooklyn Raines (USA), Xavier Valdez (USA) and Thiago (Brazil).
The MLS U22 Initiative was launched in April 2021 in an effort to continue to foster the growth of young players in Major League Soccer. The new rule allows MLS clubs to sign up to three young players, age 22 and younger, at a reduced budget charge. The rule provides enhanced opportunities for Homegrown signings and SuperDraft picks, as well as players who hail from outside the United States and Canada and are signing their first MLS contract. With the signing of Thiago, the Dynamo have now used 2 of their 3 young player slots with the other slot still occupied by Mateo Bajamich, currently on loan with CA Huracan in Argentina.
The Dynamo now have 26 players on the roster for the 2022 MLS regular season.
TRANSACTION: Houston Dynamo FC sign Thiago Fernandes Rodrigues as an MLS U22 Initiative player on a year-long loan, with an option to purchase, from Brazilian side Flamengo.
Full Name: Thiago Fernandes Rodrigues
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Date of Birth: 03/13/2001 (21)
Birthplace: Recife, Brazil
Hometown: Recife, Brazil
FIFA Nationality: Brazil
Last Club: Clube de Regatas do Flamengo (Brazil)
How Acquired: Signed as an MLS U22 Initiative player on a year-long loan, with an option to purchase, from Brazilian side Flamengo.
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