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Why El Paso Locomotive FC gave Diego Luna ‘a dream start’ to his career

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/29/23, 3:00PM EDT


Talented playmaker has shone so far for United States at FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina

A 2021 USL Championship All-League selection for El Paso Locomotive FC, Diego Luna has shone for the United States at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina as the side won all three group stage games..

Diego Luna has been one of the most notable players for the United States U-20s so far at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, with a goal and assist in three appearances that have seen him provide energy and inventiveness in the final third for Head Coach Mikey Varas’ side.

Luna’s play has felt like a throwback to the start of his career at El Paso Locomotive FC in the USL Championship, a time the 19-year-old believes vaulted him to the opportunities that have come since his debut just over two years ago at Southwest University Park.

“It was a dream start to a professional career,” Luna told ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez on Futbol Americas last week. “I went there to a place that was just loving, that loved the sport, loved the team. The staff and everyone there, the players, all gave me the confidence and supported me on and off the field. I think it was the best thing in my career so far that has led me into all these things.

“I don’t think without El Paso and without everybody that helped me there I would be where I’m at today. Everything there, the community, the staff, everyone that has helped me or that I’ve been in touch with there has helped me in some way or form to get me where I’m at.”

Luna became an instant hit with Locomotive FC, earning USL Championship All-League honors alongside current United States U-20s teammate Jonathan Gomez in 2021. In his time in El Paso, he recorded 13 goals and seven assists in 42 appearances across the regular season and playoffs before being transferred for a then-USL Championship record fee to Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer.

Luna’s connection to El Paso and Locomotive FC and its fans has continued since his transfer to RSL last year, however. In the past offseason he attended the club’s World Cup watch parties, hanging out with the fans he used to entertain.

Luna, Gomez and the United States U-20s – which also features current Louisville City FC standout Joshua Wynder – will kick off the knockout stage of the tournament when they face New Zealand in the Round of 16 on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET, with the game set to air live on Fox Sports 2 and Universdo.

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