In January, Anthony De Anda signed a professional contract with Austin FC II, making him the first Austin FC Academy player to do so. On August 6, the 18-year-old – originally from Los Angeles - started for Austin FC II for the first time, in his hometown against LAFC 2.
De Anda joined the Austin FC Academy in August 2021 and had a strong 2022 season while playing for the Austin FC U-17 team. He scored two goals in an MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Round of 16 match against New York City FC. Additionally, he was chosen to participate in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game held in Minnesota in July of last year.
“Being with the academy was great,” said De Anda. “I learned a lot about our playing style and being more professional. The most important thing for me was Austin FC set me up with really good host parents that took good care of me. As time went by with the Academy, I started going up to train with the first team, so I started seeing the difference in not only the playing level but the professionalism. Coming in with the second team, I kind of figured things out pretty quickly – it’s a new team so things were going to be different, but I was prepared for it.”
In his first start at the professional level, De Anda played 83 minutes and ranked among the top ATXFC II players in passing accuracy, completing 91.7 percent of his passes.
“It felt incredible. It’s something that I’ve been working towards since preseason,” De Anda said. “What’s even better is I did it back at home where my family was able to witness it. It was a really good experience, being able to play back at home with my family's support and just knowing that I earned that spot, so it was a really good feeling. It’s something that’s going to drive my hunger to achieve more.”
He made his first appearance in ATXFC II’s 4-0 victory against LA Galaxy II on July 30. During that match, four Austin FC products shared the field for the first time at the professional level as De Anda joined Bryan Arellano, Micah Burton, and Ervin Torres on the pitch.
“Us Academy players playing together in a professional environment, it was amazing,” said De Anda. “It’s something that I’ve seen us all work very hard for – on and off the field. It’s a great feeling when you see not only yourself but people that you consider family get their opportunity. Being in the Academy with them and now seeing the development into professional players together is pretty much a dream come true for all of us.”