After a remarkable five-year career with the Sacramento Republic FC Youth Academy, an 18-year-old Mario Penagos earned his first-ever professional soccer contract when he signed with the Indomitable Club prior to the start of the 2020 USL Championship season.
That day, sitting on the stage inside Chando’s Cantina surrounded by family and friends, Penagos officially began his pro soccer journey right here in his hometown. And Penagos’ pro development will continue in Sacramento with the boys in Old Glory Red in 2021 where he’ll compete for a regular role on the squad in search of Championship Cup glory next season.
It’s not always the case that teenage academy products immediately get called into first team duty but when Penagos did, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. During preseason play, Penagos was summoned as a second half substitute against 2019 title-winners Real Monarchs and just two minutes on the pitch, the midfielder nabbed an assist to level the match.
Penagos was a member of the Indomitable Club's inaugural youth academy developmental group in 2015.
Just over one week later, he earned a spot in the starting eleven for Sacramento’s opening game of the Championship season on March 7 against FC Tulsa at Papa Murphy’s Park. Penagos, alongside his fellow teammate Hayden Sargis, became the first players in club history to start their debut first team matches on opening night.
He continued to prove why he was worthy of a spot on the first team by showing that skill and confidence during a crucial moment of Republic FC’s heated playoff push this season when the playmaker netted his first career goal with the first team in the 87th minute of his sides’ 2-1 road victory over Timbers 2 in Portland.
The goal was a moment of pure class and composure that looked like it was struck from the boot of a seasoned veteran.
“Mario’s very good at that, he does that naturally,” Head Coach Mark Briggs said of Penagos on the end of season recap episode of The Breakaway regarding the team needing an offensive spark and being a dangerous threat inside T2’s defensive third. “Mario’s goal was just a great goal. The movements, the little combination play and then for him to just pass it into the corner by the ‘keeper – he showed a lot of composure, he showed his ability. Mario’s got a lot of ability.”
An ecstatic Penagos celebrating his sensational strike with his teammates in Portland.
Penagos now has one precious season of first team play experience under his belt heading into his sophomore one. This past campaign, the midfielder logged over 80 minutes from four appearances and has his sights set on scoring many more memorable goals for his hometown club in an Old Glory Red kit.
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