Revolution make Somerville midfielder Firmino fifth Homegrown signing

Keith Nordtrom/New England Revolution

The Revolution bolstered their first-team ranks Tuesday by signing Somerville, Mass. 17-year-old Nicholas Firmino to a Homegrown contract, the club announced.

Firmino, who was born in Mantena, Brazil, becomes the fifth Homegrown player in club history after spending the last four and a half seasons with the Revolution Academy program. And they were productive seasons: “Elio” scored 35 goals at attacking midfield, making more than 90 appearances from the U-14s on up.

During this recently concluded fall season with the Revs’ U-19s, Firmino scored four goals in six appearances. He scored 16 goals over the last calendar year-plus and earned a spot in the US Soccer Development Academy Best XI of the East earlier this year.

In addition, Firmino trained with the first team for a good portion of the 2018 season: he spent the preseason with the club when they trained in Tucson, and also traveled with the club in July on trips to Minneapolis on July 18 followed by the subsequent trip to Harrison, N.J. when the Revs played New York Red Bulls.

At 17, the 5-foot-11, 155-pound Firmino will be the youngest member of the squad, displacing Providence’s Isaac Angking of that particular honor.

[caption id="attachment_470043" align="alignnone" width="1600"] Somerville's Nicolas Firmino puts pen to paper on his Homegrown contract. (New England Revolution)[/caption]

“Nicolas has grown tremendously over his four-plus years developing in our Academy, distinguishing himself by both his technical abilities and maturity on and off the field,” general manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “After closely tracking his progress in the Academy, and with the success he has had in first-team training sessions over the last year, we are confident that Nicolas is ready to take this critical next step in his development.”

Said Firmino in a club statement: “It’s a blessing to be taking this important step forward in my career and I look forward to taking full advantage of this opportunity with the Revolution. I believe that my time in the Academy and the key experience I gained training with the first team over the last year have prepared me to compete at the professional level. I would like to thank Michael Burns, Brad Friedel, Bryan Scales and the Academy coaching staff, and the entire Revolution organization for believing in me.”

Prior to his time in the Academy, Firmino played his club soccer with the Boston-based FC Blazers.

With Firmino’s addition, the Revolution roster now stands at 20 headed into the expansion draft next month.

BSJ Analysis

One of the things that we wanted to see this offseason — more Homegrowns coming out of the Revolution Academy — came true shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday evening. Firmino is