USMNT, Spain prospect Kochen signs with Barcelona to '28

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United States youth international goalkeeper Diego Kochen has agreed a new long-term contract with Barcelona that will keep him at the club until 2028.

The deal will be officially signed when Kochen turns 18 on March 19, the Catalan club said on Friday.

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As part of the agreement, Kochen will be promoted from the Under-19 team to Barça Atlétic, who play in the third tier of Spanish football, where he will wear the No. 24 shirt.

However, he has been training and travelling with the first team on a regular basis since Marc-André ter Stegen injured his back in November.

He has been on the bench for Xavi Hernández's side on 13 occasions this season and had the chance to make his first-team debut in December, playing 29 minutes in the friendly defeat against Liga MX side Club América in Dallas.

Kochen previously signed his first professional contract in 2022, penning a three-year deal when he turned 16 after initially joining the club's La Masia academy in 2019.

Born in Miami to parents from Venezuela and Peru, he is also eligible to play for Spain, the country where he has lived since 2018.

He has represented only the U.S. at youth level, but the director for Spain's youth teams, Francis Hernández, has made a play to convince him to represent La Roja.

In an interview with Marca last month, Hernández confirmed he had sounded Kochen out about the possibility of choosing Spain over the U.S, Venezuela and Peru.

Kochen is one of two young Americans currently at Barça. The other is Adrian Simon Gill, who turned 18 last month.

Gill, a midfielder and U.S. youth international, has missed the majority of this season with an injury. He has a contract until 2025.

Kochen and Gill are aiming to become the third and fourth Americans to play for Barca's first team, following in the footsteps of Konrad De La Fuente and Sergiño Dest.

De La Fuente made three appearances for the club after coming through La Masia before departing in 2021, while Dest, who is now on loan at PSV Eindhoven, has played 68 games since signing from Ajax for €20 million in 2020.