New Orange County SC signing Alex Villanueva has made 42 appearances for Tacoma Defiance in the USL Championship over the past three seasons. | Photo courtesy Charis Wilson / Tacoma Defiance
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC announced on Wednesday the club had signed 19-year-old midfielder Alex Villanueva to its squad for the 2022 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval. Villanueva joins a growing group of young OCSC talents who have been developing and proving themselves at high levels with the club in order to make the move to the next step in their promising careers.
“Orange County is a great club and the right fit because it fits my playing style,” said Villanueva. “The coaches' confidence in me to contribute to such an experienced group and their commitment to help me achieve my goals to play on the highest level also played an important part in my decision. I can learn a lot from the staff and players. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and playing in front of the fans.”
Villanueva brings three seasons of experience in the professional ranks to OCSC Head Coach Richard Chaplow and his staff’s reloaded squad for the new season. He made his professional debut as a 17-year-old during the 2019 USL Championship season, and has made 42 appearances overall for Tacoma Defiance in the league while recording two goals, four assists and 29 key passes in 2,833 minutes of action.
Last year, Villanueva also made his MLS debut for Seattle Sounders FC as he came on as a substitute in a 1-0 win against Austin FC on July 22. He made one more appearance for the Sounders before returning to Tacoma’s starting line-up.
“We are delighted to add Alex, a top young talent to our club,” said OCSC President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. “Alex is an exciting player that we are very familiar with, and he will continue to develop in our professional environment. Alex is at an age where he is only starting out in his journey, and we know there is so much more to come.”
Prior to making his debut for the Defiance, Villanueva featured in 2018 for the United States U17 Men’s National Team at the Nike Friendlies where he teamed up with current Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna and FC Augsburg forward Ricardo Pepi. The Southern California native, originally from Lancaster, Calif., is set to continue his professional career and development now with OCSC.
“Alex is an exciting player for us to add to the roster as he joins us with good knowledge of the league having performed well in it for the past few seasons,” said Chaplow. “Alex will bring energy and directness to us in wide areas while providing our attackers with good service, which is always an important ingredient to have in your team. He has a real hunger to improve, and we are looking forward to supporting him as he continues his development.”
With this signing, OCSC adds yet another exceptional talent to its list of players under 20-years-old with professional experience that includes current USMNT U-20 defender Kobi Henry as well as Orange County product and midfielder Francis Jacobs.