Mumbai City FC announced the signings of Nathan Rodrigues and Franklin Nazareth, two talented youngsters from Reliance Foundation Young Champs on Saturday. The two 19-year-olds join the Islanders on four-year contracts until May 2027.
Hailing from Goa, Nathan started his journey in the Churchill Brothers' youth system and was scouted by RFYC in 2019. Once a midfielder at Churchill, Nathan transitioned into playing in defence with the help of his coaches at RFYC. A tall, left-footed defender who is comfortable on the ball, Nathan is an asset with his positive distribution, providing an outlet to build up from the back.
Franklin came through the ranks of his hometown team, FC Pune City, before being scouted by RFYC in 2019 after playing in the RFYS National School Championship. Franklin is a strong defensive midfielder with good positioning and passing range. He possesses the ability to receive the ball in different situations and progress it, while also having the propensity to intercept passes and break up opposition attacks.
Nathan and Franklin were instrumental for RFYC in in the Reliance Foundation Development League in the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The duo played a crucial role in the Young Champs’ 4th placed finish in the 2023 edition and in their subsequent maiden appearance at the Premier League Next Gen Cup.
The signings of Nathan and Franklin reaffirms the Islanders’ commitment to work with and develop the best young players in the country.
Nathan Rodrigues said, “It is an honour for me to sign for Mumbai City FC. It's a huge opportunity for me to arrive at a huge club and to start my professional journey. I want to put my head down, learn from my teammates and continue my development under coach Des Buckingham and his staff."
Franklin Nazareth said, “Mumbai City FC is a club close to my home and my heart. It gives me and my family immense pride to be part of such a big club. Des Buckingham puts a lot of faith in the youngsters and helps them improve and I am very excited to work with him and everyone at Mumbai City.”
Des Buckingham, Head Coach, Mumbai City FC, said, “Nathan and Franklin are two exceptional talents. We are glad we were able to secure their signature ahead of the new season, which will allow us to help them make the transition to senior football. RFYC have a proven track record of producing young talent in India, and I am sure both Nathan and Franklin will be able to adapt to our group and our culture with ease."
"Their signing also reaffirms our commitment to working and developing with the best young talents in the country. I am looking forward to working with them in pre-season and helping them both reach their potential with us here at Mumbai City.”