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B.C. teen who was Vancouver FC’s youngest-ever signing playing for Ireland

Grady McDonnell seeing the world with the U-17 national soccer squad of his father’s homeland
Grady McDonnell, 15, was the youngest signing in CPL history, inking a deal with Vancouver FC last month. (Beau Chevalier, VFC/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver FC midfielder Grady McDonnell has earned his second call-up for the Republic of Ireland in 2024, after he was included in the Men’s U-17 squad that will face Hungary and Denmark in a pair of international friendlies this month.

McDonnell joined the Boys in Green in Pinatar, Spain for a week-long camp, which features friendly matches against Hungary on last week, and Denmark on Saturday (Feb. 17), which coincides with McDonnell’s sixteenth birthday.

This Surrey teenager was signed earlier this year to Vancouver FC, at the age of 15, becomes the youngest signing in Canadian Premier League history. He superseded teammate Taryck ‘TJ’ Tahid, who was 16 years and 16 days old when he inked his first professional contract with the club in May 2023.

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The friendlies served as preparation for the upcoming UEFA European Under-17 Championship Elite Round Qualifiers, which begin in March.

The Republic of Ireland will compete in Group 5 at the Qualifiers, facing Portugal, Germany, and Croatia as it looks to qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

McDonnell most recently represented the Republic of Ireland for the country’s U-16 team at the Aegean Cup in January 2024. He appeared in all three matches at the tournament and scored the fourth goal in a 6-0 victory over Greece.

McDonnell, who is eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland because of his father’s heritage, earned his first international call-up for the Boys in Green in September 2022 at the U-15 level. He has since made appearances for the country’s U-16 and U-17 squads.

McDonnell’s signing was part of an influx of local talent to Vancouver’s 2024 roster, including defenders Paris Gee and David Norman, and midfielder Ben Fisk.

VFC’s current roster includes nine B.C.-born players.

McDonnell and VFC will kick off the 2024 CPL season on Sunday, April 14 for the team’s home opener against Valour FC.

Tickets to that match and the rest of Vancouver’s home matches can be found online.

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About the Author: Langley Advance Times Staff

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