Pleasanton Preps: Local teen soccer star signs with San Jose Earthquakes

Also: Split week for Foothill boys basketball, Amador wrestling takes third

The San Jose Earthquakes have signed Pleasanton teenage defender Jacob Akanyirige to a "homegrown player" contract.

He became the youngest-ever signing by the Earthquakes, the third-youngest player currently in Major League Soccer and the eighth-youngest to ever sign a pro contract in league history when he inked the deal last month.

"Jacob has shown an incredible amount of potential at such a young age," Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a press release after the signing Dec. 15. "We challenged him to play above his age this year and were impressed by his maturity and technical abilities. We are confident he will continue to develop with regular First Team training exposure."

Akanyirige, now 16, joined the Quakes' U-15 squad ahead of the 2016-17 academy season from the Ballistic United Soccer Club. He has been competing for the U-19s in 2017-18, despite being age-eligible for the younger U-17s.

The Pleasanton native becomes the fourth homegrown player signing in San Jose's history, and first directly from the team's academy -- after midfielder Tommy Thompson ahead of the 2014 season, defender Nick Lima ahead of the 2017 season and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski last month.

Akanyirige was also named one of 18 United States Youth National Team players to watch in 2018 by TopDrawerSoccer. He was recently among 153 players called to the youth national team summit in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., marking his first-ever international call-up.

Here's what TDS had to say about him:

"Akanyirige went from off-the-radar to homegrown signing to U.S. U18 Men's National Team call-up in a period of a month. The defender has been a key player for the Earthquakes U18/19 team during the Development Academy season. If he can continue to impress, he could be in for a big year in 2018."

Foothill boys basketball

The Falcons opened the East Bay Athletic League season with a 57-49 at Granada on Jan. 3.

Foothill trailed 9-7 at the end the first quarter in the slow-starting game. A 13-7 advantage in the second quarter gave the Falcons a halftime lead they would not relinquish.

JT McDermott led the scoring with 18 points, while Ramon Cristwell added 11 points. Devin Powell chipped in eight to round out the top Foothill scorers.

On Jan. 5, the Falcons hosted a Dublin team that is among the elite teams in Northern California. Foothill hung in throughout the game, but dropped a 65-61 decision.

McDermott had 16 to again lead Foothill, while Cristwell added 15 points. Michael Smith had 11 to round out the top scorers for the Falcons.

Amador wrestling

The Amador Valley wrestling team took third place out of 31 teams on Saturday at the Cupertino Bianchini Tournament.

Tourney champion Gabe Alviar led the way, winning the title by racking up three pins. Third-place finishers for the Dons were Jackson Butler and Chris Reese. Devon Dyliacco, and Kyle Jordan rounded out the top performances for the Dons by finishing fourth.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at


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Posted by Anja
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm

CONGRATULATIONS JACOB! We are so proud of you, and excited. You are going to be so awesome! You're going to have an incredible journey. Enjoy it Jacob. You deserve it.

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