Today, the Houston Dynamo made the signing of Thiago Fernandes Rodrigues official. Thiago or Thiaguinho as he’s known for short, joins from Flamengo, the largest club in Brazil, on a year-long loan with an option to purchase.
The 21-year-old will occupy one of Houston’s three MLS U22 Initiative roster spots. He joins the team as a Young Designated Player and will occupy an international roster spot.
“Thiago is an exciting young talent joining us from one of the biggest clubs in the world. We anticipate that he will compete for minutes this season with the hope of earning a permanent spot with our club next year,” said Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad. “The city of Houston already attracts some of the most talented people in the Hemisphere to our world class energy, medical, and aerospace industries, and our club’s recruitment efforts are no different. We want to be the preferred gateway for high potential players from North, Central and South America and help them realize their dreams of playing at the highest levels.”
Thiago made his senior debut with Clube Nautico Capibaribe in December 2018 and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory. The winger was transferred to Flamengo in January of 2020 and began the year with Flamengo’s U-20 squad. He returned to Flamengo on loan that summer for the remainder of the year. He finished with nine appearances at the senior level in all competitions at Flamengo, leading them to the regional championship in the Copa do Brasil that season and finishing with five appearances in that competition.
“The club is excited to welcome Thiago and add a player of his quality to our roster. He is a high-potential player that can change a game with his approach and determination in the final third,” Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura said. “We look to furthering his development here in Houston and showcase what our club is doing for players like him to maximize their potential.”
The MLS U22 Initiative was launched in April 2021 and allows MLS clubs to sign up to three young players, age 22 and younger, at a reduced budget charge. With the signing of Thiago, the Dynamo have now used 2 of their 3 young player slots with the other slot still occupied by Mateo Bajamich, currently on loan with CA Huracan in Argentina.