Haji Wright is currently one of the brightest prospects in North American soccer and the young man certainly isn't afraid to make a decision some might not agree with.
That is because the young striker has rejected conventional wisdom and instead of signing his first professional deal with a Major League Soccer side, Wright has instead joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.
A big reason for the choice to join the Cosmos could well be the fact that Real Madrid legend Raul currently stars for the New York side, with not many players of the Spaniard's stature in MLS, the chance to learn from Raul may have been too great to reject.
Wright only turned 17 on Friday and has been with the U.S. youth national team setup since 2012, and has spent time in the LA Galaxy academy as well. In 2014, he tallied 18 goals and seven assists in 22 matches for the U.S. U-17 team, helping it to qualify for this summer's U-17 World Cup in Chile.
“I’m excited about joining the Cosmos,” Wright said on the Cosmos' website. “The team plays with an attacking mindset that fits my style and I think it’s the perfect environment for the next stage of my development.
"Getting the chance to train with and learn from world-class players such as Raul and Marcos Senna is any player’s dream.”
Wright was expected to either join a side in Major League Soccer and there was the potential of a move abroad following a reportedly positive trial with Bundesliga giants Schalke, Raul's former employers.
Rules mean that Schalke would not be able to sign Wright until next March, so if the player were to end up in Germany, the timing of a stint in NASL under Raúl’s influence makes a certain sense.
What does seem certain is that Haji Wright won't be in the green of the Cosmos for too long. The young forward is too talented to stay at that level, despite the Cosmos' hopes of making themselves a true force.