18-year-old Michigan native signs professional deal with Norwegian Top Division Club.
Cunningham said in a press release, “This is a dream come true. Since I was very young I’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional, and this means everything to me. I have a long way to go in terms of becoming the player I would like to be, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Cunningham has spent the last few weeks training with the club. The club and player agreed to make the professional contract official on his 18th birthday on Monday.
Cunningham, a Troy, Michigan native, played as a defender with Derby County Wolves in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy last season.
Both Cunningham and Gatt gained their European exposure as part of the U.S.F.C. program SuperElite All-American Showcase, a European tour that features matches against world-renowned clubs.
SuperElite Technical Director Jon Spencer said, “This is a great opportunity for him to develop, and I think having (Gatt) alongside him will aid the process.”
This is not the first time Cunningham has been offered a contract with a European club. Last August, he turned down a contract from Mainz 05 of the German Bundesliga to return for his senior high school season. He told the Oakland Press at the time, "The outcome (of negotiations) did not turn out as expected and it made me rethink things."
He also cited his commitment to the University of Michigan as a factor for his original decision to remain in the United States. Now, he will forgo that spot on coach Steve Burns’ roster for a professional contract in Norway.
Cunningham has appeared with various United States youth national teams and is currently listed as part of the U18 pool.
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