EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC announced on Thursday it had reached an agreement with Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake for the transfer of midfield stand-out and current United States youth international Diego Luna. Per club policy, the details of the transfer agreement were not disclosed, though the move is the largest transfer in USL Championship history.
“Diego Luna has been a wonderful talent for El Paso Locomotive,” said Locomotive FC Head Coach and Technical Director John Hutchinson. “His time with us was very entertaining and his growth has been right in front of our eyes, clear for everyone to see. It’s fantastic not only for Diego but also the entire Club. His development has been guided by the footballers he has been training and playing with and I know the whole group wants Diego to succeed at the next level. I speak for everyone associated with El Paso Locomotive, and not just the football team, when I say we wish Diego all the best in the future. He will be welcomed with open arms anytime he comes to visit us.”
“El Paso became a second home to me. I just wanted to thank all the staff, all my teammates and most importantly, 8th Notch and the entire fanbase,” said Luna. “You guys have showed support on and off the field since the day I arrived here, and I think that’s something that made me who I am and is a big part of my success. I’ll forever be a Loco. Thank you very much and I will miss El Paso.”
Since turning professional with Locomotive FC in April 2021 at the age of 17, Luna has turned heads both across the league and nationally. Luna recorded nine goals and five assists in his first professional season in El Paso, earning nomination for the USL Championship’s Young Player of the Year award and being honored with USL Championship All-League Second Team selection.
A California native, Luna made his debut for the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2021. Luna joined the Stars and Stripes in November 2021 for the inaugural Revelations Cup held in Mexico and scored his first international goal against the hosts in the 50th minute in Guadalajara.
So far in 2022, Luna has followed up his breakout year with outstanding success. He has been called to three additional U.S. Youth National Team camps and has recorded four goals and two assists in 10 appearances. Luna currently ranks first in the USL Championship in Goals Added with a +4.75 G+ mark according to American Soccer Analysis, while also sitting first in Goals Added above Average at +2.95 G+. In his time with El Paso Locomotive, the now 18-year-old midfielder has recorded 13 goals and seven assists over 41 matches.
Prior to his time in El Paso, Luna played in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy from the age of 12. While with San Jose, Luna helped lift the Surf Cup trophy while also competing in the prestigious Dallas Cup and generation adidas Cup. At 15, Luna made the move to the Barca Residency Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona.