ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 31, 2018) - Orlando City SC has signed Montverde Academy graduate and former Orlando City Academy product Benji Michel (Mee-Shell) ahead of the 2019 Major League Soccer Season (MLS), becoming the fifth Homegrown Player in Club history.
"We are very excited with the addition of Benji. Central Florida is one of the top areas in the country in talent, and we as a Club need to focus on grooming players like him to make sure they have a pathway in their professional careers," said Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. "Benji is an exciting player; we could not be any happier to have him come back home."
The 21-year-old joins City after three seasons at the University of Portland. In his freshman year, Michel racked up numerous accolades, including West Coast Conference (WCC) Freshman of the Year and WCC All-Freshman Team honors. He was named to the All-WCC First Team each of his three seasons and was a two-time United Soccer Coaches (USC) All-Far West First Team member.
This past season, Michel was named to the USC All-American Second Team and was the first Pilot since 2002 to be named an All-American by the United Soccer Coaches.
Michel led the Pilots in 2018 with 11 goals and opened the campaign scoring in 10 of the first 11 games of the season. The Orlando native finished the year ranked third nationally with seven game-winning goals.
Overall, Michel finished with 31 goals in 53 appearances for the University of Portland, and recorded double-digit goal totals in each campaign.
Prior to his collegiate career, Michel played for the Orlando City U-18’s, where he scored 25 goals for the U.S. Development Academy. While at Montverde, Michel helped the team build on a record 136-game unbeaten streak, which started in 2010.
TRANSACTION: Orlando City SC signs Benji Michel as a Homegrown Player.
Name: Benji Michel
Born: October 23, 1997 in Orlando, Florida
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Citizenship: United States