CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Tuesday announced the signing of homegrown talent and Red Wolves Academy prospect Yahir Paez to his first professional contract. The contract is pending league and federation approval.
Paez, a 19-year-old native of Dalton, Ga., is a midfielder who signed an academy contract with the first team in the summer of 2022, making him the third Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy player to do so. Paez made his professional debut in October against North Carolina FC, becoming the first Red Wolves Academy player to start in a first-team match.
After a successful season, Paez has now become the first Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy player to sign a professional contract with the first team. Paez, expressed his excitement to join the Red Wolves first team for the upcoming campaign saying, “It means a lot coming back to my first professional club, I enjoyed my first year and was able to gather knowledge about myself and the inner workings of professional soccer.”
Club President and General Manager Sean McDaniel said, “One of the early goals of the Red Wolves was to develop young talent from within our Academy. Yahir followed the path we laid that truly is the path to professional soccer.”
Speaking to Paez and how the Academy was a crucial part of his development, McDaniel went on to say, “He made his debut with the first team last season as an academy product and now he’s signed his first professional contract. Yahir laid the groundwork for others to follow, and the talent being produced within our academy platform makes the Red Wolves one of the best soccer platforms in the country.”
Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski said, “It’s a great day for the organization as we get a chance to back up our vision of a true path-to-pro model. It’s players like Yahir that attracted me to the vision of the club with academies in Chattanooga as well as in Park City, Utah.”
Coach Korytoski expressed his excitement for Paez and the club saying, “I’m very excited to work with Yahir and continue his development as a professional player with the club. The future is bright for the Red Wolves, our community and our supporters.”
One of the most exciting prospects in the country, Paez said that his goal this season was clear and said to the fans, “My goal is to win the USL League One title with the club and bring home a championship this season."