Orlando City have completed the signing of midfielder Cesar Araujo from Uruguayan side Montevideo Wanderers.
The 20-year-old qualifies for the MLS Under-22 Initiative and has signed a contract with the Lions through the 2024 season with an option for 2025.
“We’re very excited about bringing Cesar to Orlando and having him suit up in purple,” Orlando City executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s focused and energetic in the center and we expect that he’ll bolster and strengthen our midfield.”
Araujo joins Orlando with 63 senior appearances under his belt for Montevideo – including three in the Copa Sudamericana – during which he’s provided six assists. The youngster should help Oscar Pareja’s men connect defense to attack, with Araujo at his best as a deep-lying midfielder, progressing the ball forward with his precision passing. He’ll also add plenty of defensive bite alongside Jr Urso and Jhegson Mendez.
Though uncapped at any level, Araujo has been involved in several training camps with the Uruguay Under-20 national team. On the same day as he completed his transfer to Orlando, the midfielder also received his first call-up to La Celeste Olímpica’s senior team, making the reserve list for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Venezuela.
Orlando have suffered a number of high-profile departures this winter with USMNT striker Daryl Dike joining West Bromwich Albion and Chris Mueller moving to Hibernian. Uri Rosell has re-joined Sporting Kansas City while Nani has ended his three-year stay in Florida.
Araujo represents the club’s first major incoming as they prepare for the 2022 MLS season – their first match is at home to CF Montreal on February 27.