ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City SC has signed former Orlando City B and Orlando City Academy midfielder Jordan Bender, becoming the Lions’ seventh all-time Homegrown Player and second signed this week.
“Jordan’s journey is the blueprint of exactly how we envision the pathway and future of the Orlando City SC development pyramid,” Orlando City EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said. “As a player who started in our Academy, made his way to OCB and has now signed with our MLS team, Orlando City is in his blood. He has also trained and played in preseason games with the First Team, so he understands what it takes to succeed in MLS. We are extremely excited about the potential and upside that Jordan possesses and we look forward to him continuing to grow within our organization.”
With the signing, Bender becomes the first Orlando City Homegrown player to complete the direct climb to professional soccer, beginning his career in the Club’s Development Academy (DA) before earning a contract with Orlando City B and ultimately signing with the senior side directly out of high school.
A native of Lake Mary, Fla., Bender first joined the Orlando City Pre-Academy at age 12. From there, the midfielder moved up the ranks from the U-13/14 DA team through the U-19 team.
Bender, 18, signed with Orlando City B at the start of the Club’s 2019 USL League One season after a successful tenure in the Orlando City Academy. Last year, Bender made 16 appearances for the Lions - 12 of them starts - for a total of 1,000 minutes. At the start of the 2019 season, Bender also appeared for the First Team during the inaugural Orlando City Invitational - helping the team take home the trophy.
In 2017, Bender received his first call-up to the U.S. U-16 Boys’ National Team, joining the team for its February training camp.
The Orlando City Soccer Club contributed to this report.