17-year-old full back Angel Bernal is set for his first full season with FC Tulsa having made four appearances late in the 2022 campaign after turning pro with the club in September. | Photo courtesy FC Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. – FC Tulsa announced on Thursday the club had re-signed defender Angel Bernal to a new contract ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season, retaining the youngest player to ink a professional contract in the history club. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Bernal signed with FC Tulsa on September 22 and appeared in each of Tulsa’s final four games of the season, making his first professional start in a 2-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. on October 12. Overall, the 17-year-old recorded 252 minutes of action and made six interceptions, while winning five tackles and 13 of 20 duels.
“For me, no matter what your age is, if you are capable, you will have an opportunity to play,” said FC Tulsa Head Coach Blair Gavin. “In his time here, Angel demonstrated that no matter who he went up against, he was going to give his best. At that age, we are looking for someone who is fearless, and Angel is fearless.”
Bernal’s path to becoming a professional began in his hometown with San Antonio FC’s Pro Academy. He joined the academy program in 2016 and would later debut with the senior squad in an international exhibition against Pumas UNAM of LigaMX on July 9, 2021.
It was not long after that Bernal began to command the attention of MLS clubs. Houston Dynamo invited the young defender to the Generation Adidas Cup as a guest player in April of 2022 where Bernal made five appearances. In September, FC Dallas extended an Academy contract to Bernal where he competed for less than two months before Tulsa signed the promising right-back to a professional deal.
“I’m excited to start my first full year in Tulsa and I’m ready to learn,” said Bernal. “I want to soak everything in and I’m excited to work with Blair. I know he has goals for the team and for myself and I’m ready to give it my all.”
With Bernal’s official addition to the 2023 roster, all three teenagers signed to pro contracts by FC Tulsa mid-season a year ago are back in the squad for the upcoming USL Championship season – Bernal, Luca Sowinski, and Christopher Pearson.