Real Salt Lake Sign Prodigy Diego Luna From USL Championship Side El Paso Locomotive
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake has signed 18-year-old Diego Luna from USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive, the club has confirmed.
Real Salt Lake will sign Luna via the under 22 initiative for an approximate 250K, the largest fee ever paid by an MLS club for a USL player, as first reported by Tom Bogert.
“Luna is signed through the 2024 Major League Soccer season, with Club options for the 2025 and 2026 MLS seasons. In order to obtain the Homegrown Priority spot for the rights to add Luna, RSL exchanged $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) with the San Jose Earthquakes, who could also receive additional GAM based on various service and performance milestones achieved by Luna,” the club announced via a press release.
“I believe Real Salt Lake is an historic club with an amazing and vibrant fan base; I am grateful for the faith RSL has in me and my abilities, and I look forward to contributing to the team,” said Luna during his first 24 hours in Utah on Wednesday. “After speaking with the front office about their strong interest and plan for me, I am convinced this was the right move for my career. I will forever be grateful to El Paso for giving me my first professional contract, and the opportunity to showcase myself as I face new challenges.”
Further details: Sources say Real Salt Lake will pay El Paso a $250,000 transfer fee for Diego Luna, which I believe is a USL-to-MLS record.
Also: San Jose Earthquakes to receive $50k GAM + $100k GAM bonus + small sell-on % in Luna for his rights. Luna spent time in SJ academy. https://t.co/XXhHuADoJz
— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) June 1, 2022
After growing up in California, Luna of Mexican descent began his soccer career with the San Jose Earthquake Academy before joining Barcelona Residency Academy in 2018.
Shortly thereafter, Luna signed his first professional contract with El Paso Locomotive of the USL Championship at the youthful age of 17. He debuted for El Paso on May 8, 2021, and has since gone on to score 13 goals while adding 9 assists in 43 appearances.
“Everyone at RSL welcomes the opportunity to further sharpen a young player such as Diego Luna on our senior roster, opening the doors of our Homegrown development paradigm to a proven, albeit young, dual national No. 10 on the ascent in his professional career,” said Real Salt Lake Technical Director Kurt Schmid. “Luna has blossomed in the last 18 months at El Paso, and we are excited to get him integrated into our system, to learn from Pablo Mastroeni and his staff, while also watching him assert his skills at the upcoming CONCACAF U-20 tourney this month.”
Luna has also been called up to camps with the under 14 and under 17 United States National Teams. Luna also has the option to be called up to the Mexican National Team, despite having only represented the United States up until this point.
Real Salt Lake will travel to Vancouver next Saturday, June 4, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m.
As always, the fixture will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.
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