TULSA, Okla. – FC Tulsa made a landmark signing on Tuesday as Ciaran Winters became the first player in club history to sign professional terms with the club after previously having joined the squad as a USL Academy signing. The signing is pending league and federation approval.
A Tulsa native, Winters did not appear in a USL Championship match for FC Tulsa in 2020, Winters did see time on the pitch in the preseason and scored an equalizing goal against Oral Roberts at Holland Hall. Now as he joins the professional ranks, the aim will be to see the 19-year-old break into the First Team.
“After his first pro season under his belt, the expectations for Ciaran will be higher,” said FC Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien. “Becoming a pro player during a year like 2020 was a big challenge. However, every day we saw growth from Ciaran, and now we expect him to capitalize on that growth this season. He has so many tools. This could be a breakout year from him.”
Prior to joining FC Tulsa, Winters played in Sporting Kansas City’s Developmental Academy for its U-17 and U-19 teams. He started his soccer career in Tulsa at the age of 7, winning three youth state titles playing for Tulsa Soccer Club. While in the TSC Academy, Winters received coaching from current FC Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien.
“Returning back to Tulsa means everything to me,” said Winters. “I love being a part of my hometown team, and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Winters joins the growing list of former USL Academy signings now competing in the professional ranks at independent USL Championship clubs, as Tulsa joins the likes of Orange County SC, Louisville City FC, San Antonio FC and Sacramento Republic FC in seeing a player complete the pathway from the youth ranks to the pros with their local club.