By Mike Cugno

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Edison Azcona is 17 years old, but he’s keeping it cool, calm and collected while being part of the Inter Miami CF club.

Azcona’s experience with his Dominican national team helped him become the first academy player to play for Inter Miami’s first team.

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“When you realize you’re about to go into the game, I was a little bit nervous but also excited to play for the first time in the MLS for my hometown team. But once I got into the game, I felt more comfortable and I just focused on the game,” said Azcona.

After his debut in Nashville, the entire team signed a ball for Azcona that wasn’t about to leave his side. He actually slept with this keepsake.

“Were you actually like holding it when you first got it?” asked CBS4’s Mike Cugno.

“I think the first night kind of, but after, it slept beside me,” Azcona replied, while laughing.

Cugno asked Azcona if it took time to earn the trust of his older teammates.

Azcona said, “The club is very much like a family.”

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“Do you have a big brother on the team?” Cugno followed up

“A few, yeah,,” said Azcona.

“Who?” asked Cugno.

“Gonzalo [Higuain], he said he adopted me. He calls me his little brother,” said Azcona.

Azcona has soccer legends on his side, and now an entire fan base that gets to root for homegrown talent.

Azcona and other academy players making the first team were part of David Beckham and Jorge Mas’ blueprint for the organization.

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“At home, it is definitely a different vibe. The fans, I think personally, well the few games I’ve been on the road with the team, I think we have the best fans at the moment,” he said. “The whole 90 minutes they’re cheering for us like pushing us. And they don’t stop even if we’re down or tied, or anything and I love that.”