By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

German-American striker Downs receives professional contract with Köln

FC Köln confirmed a professional contract for German-American attacking prospect Damion Downs on Tuesday. The 18-year-old will draw a senior-team level salary from the summer onwards. 
German-American striker Damion Downs has received two matchday squad nominations from 1. FC Köln head-coach Steffen Baumgart this year, remaining unused off the bench on matchday 22 and 25 contests against Wolfsburg and Dortmund. The 18-year-old may still be in line to make his senior team debut before the season is out. The cathedral city side sent a strong signal that, at the very least, he'll be in line for minutes next season by according him a professional contract on Tuesday. 

The Werneck-native began his footballing career in the academy of nearby FC Schweinfurt. After a stint with Ingolstadt, Downs joined the Effzeh youths on a free in September of 2020. Downs recently scored a brace against the Schalke U19s in the German Junior DFB Pokal Final. A mixed heritage player with both German and American eligibility, Downs has earned call-ups to the German U19s and the USA U20s. 

"Damion has continued to develop since signing for our U17," Köln licensing director Thomas Kessler noted in a statement, "Despite one or two setbacks at such a young age, he has proven his qualities with our very successful U19s this season. We are pleased that we can continue on this path together with Damion and are convinced that he can take the next steps towards professional soccer with our coaching team."

"I am absolutely delighted to have signed my first professional contract with FC," the player himself added, "Three years ago, I came to Cologne from Ingolstadt  and I now feel right at home here. With the U19 DFB Cup victory and the signing, it's the best week of my life so far. I'll continue to give it my all to get Bundesliga appearances in the future."

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