FC Cincinnati 2 have signed defender Nicholas ‘Nico’ Benalcazar to an MLS NEXT Pro contract, the club announced today. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 22-year-old defender joins the Orange and Blue after spending the last two seasons with New York City FC, where he signed as a Homegrown Player with the club in January 2022. Benalcazar spent six years in the NYCFC system, playing in the club’s academy and for the MLS NEXT Pro side, New York City FC II.
Benalcazar made 21 appearances, all starts, for NYCFC II in 2022 and tallied three assists while sharing the team lead in interceptions (36). Benalcazar was the only New York City defender to play a part in all six shutouts for the Pigeons in the league’s inaugural season. In 2023, Benalcazar made 12 appearances for NYCFC II and scored three goals from the backline.
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon made 54 total appearances, 49 starts, over his three-year collegiate career, scoring four goals and adding three assists. As a freshman, Benalcazar made 16 appearances, scoring two goals, and cementing his place as a consistent defensive starter in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Benalcazar was one of two players to start all 18 matches for the Demon Deacons during the 2020/2021 season while leading a defense that held opponents to under one goal per match (0.94). Benalcazar was also named to the All-ACC Academic Team in 2020 and 2021.
A Wilton, Connecticut native, Benalcazar made 100 appearances for the New York City FC Academy across five seasons and was part of the club’s inaugural academy class in 2015. In 2018, Benalcazar was named New York’s Academy Player of the Year.
At the international level, Benalcazar has represented the United States with the U16, U18 and U20 teams, making six total appearances.
TRANSACTION: FC Cincinnati 2 sign defender Nicholas ‘Nico’ Benalcazar to an MLS NEXT Pro contract on January 17, 2024.
Hometown: Wilton, Connecticut
Previous Club: New York City FC