Rhode Island FC has signed goalkeeper Koke Vegas as its first player in club history ahead of its inaugural 2024 USL Championship season, with the Spaniard having spent the past two seasons with San Diego Loyal SC. | Photo courtesy Ben Nichols / San Diego
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Rhode Island FC announced on Wednesday the club had signed goalkeeper Koke Vegas to a multi-year agreement. The Spanish shot-stopper is the first signing in club history as it prepares for the 2024 USL Championship season.
Vegas most recently played in USL Championship for San Diego Loyal SC and spent a decade playing professionally in his native Spain before coming to the United States.
“Koke Vegas is making history as the first player to ever wear the Rhode Island FC crest. As both a person and a player, he represents the values and style that we want our club and team to have,” said RIFC Head Coach and General Manager Khano Smith. “Koke is an accomplished professional, with experience at the highest levels of the game. I cannot wait to introduce Koke to our fans and to build the rest of our roster for our club’s first USL season.”
Koke was born in Antequera, Spain and has played professionally for 11 seasons. The 28-year-old made his professional debut in 2014 for RCD Espanyol B in Spain’s third tier. In 2015, he joined the organization of Levante UD, with which he won the LaLiga2 title in the 2016-17 season. In 2018 he made his LaLiga debut for the club, making five appearances and recording one shutout in Spain’s top-flight overall.
In early 2022, Koke came to the United States when he signed with the USL Championship’s San Diego Loyal SC, where he cemented himself as the club’s starter over the past two seasons. Koke has recorded 14 shutouts and 154 saves in 63 appearances across the league’s regular season and playoffs, moving him to 39 clean sheets overall in his career. He is considered among the Championship’s leading goalkeepers.
“I am thrilled to be a part of a new club and look forward to moving to New England for Rhode Island FC’s inaugural season,” said Vegas. “Coach Smith, Michael Parkhurst, and the rest of the club are committed to building a winning team and establishing Rhode Island FC as a top USL Championship club.”
“I cannot think of a better person or player than Koke Vegas to go into the history books as the first player to ever wear our crest,” said Rhode Island FC co-founder, native Rhode Islander, and former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team Michael Parkhurst. “Since joining our club, Khano Smith has traveled across the country and to locations across the world to scout talent and build a vision for the team that will take the pitch early next year. Koke will be a backbone of our side and is certain to help create a culture that propels Rhode Island FC toward the top of the USL Championship table.”