LAFC News: Midfielder Bryce Duke Opted for LAFC over Barcelona Opportunity

While we could eventually see one young LAFC star make his way to Europe, another opted to give up that route and take a different one to achieve his dreams. 

The LA Times revealed to fans the journey of Peoria, Arizona native, Bryce Duke who jumped from the everyday life of a high school teenager to living the dream of a professional soccer player who would make his debut for LAFC during the second half of a CONCACAF Champions League Game. After playing at Real Salt Lake’s academy in Utah for two years, Duke decided to return to Arizona to join Barcelona’s residency program.

There he was discovered by LAFC’s director of soccer operations, Mike Sober. Upon seeing the young midfielder, Sober knew he had to work out a deal with Salt Lake to acquire his homegrown rights which he did for $50,000 in 2021 General Allocation Money.

While LAFC was working to acquire his rights, Barcelona was offering a try out to Duke who you would think would pounce on the opportunity to crack such a widely known club that could lead to a big future for him. Instead, Duke showed such maturity for an 18-year old passing on Barcelona’s offer to sign a contract with LAFC securing his future for the time being. 


LAFC head coach Bob Bradley was excited that Duke had decided to join the club discussing his decision with the LA Times. 

“From the beginning, Bryce has made a very good impression. For a young player, he’s smart. He picks up ideas. He’s confident, and so in the few moments when we use him in games, we were really excited to see just the way he stepped on the field. We think that he’s a young player with a fantastic upside.”

Before the pandemic suspended all sports across the country, Duke racked up 22 minutes of playing time in the MLS not counting his appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League. With talks still ongoing of a possible MLS mini tournament in Orlando, Duke could still salvage a portion of his rookie season. Regardless of if such a plan formulates, it should be a season he will never forget. 

Adam Salcido

“That is the way this game is -- you win, you lose, you celebrate and you suffer.” -- Vin Scully
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