After starring on loan for El Paso Locomotive FC this past season, goalkeeper Benny Diaz has been acquired by FC Juarez ahead of the 2024 Liga MX Clausura. | Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC announced on Wednesday night that goalkeeper Benny Díaz will join Liga MX’s FC Juárez after a standout year in the USL Championship, marking a historic moment for MountainStar Sports Group (MSSG). Per club policy, details of the transfer will not be disclosed.
Díaz joined Locomotive FC on loan from Club Tijuana of Liga MX for the 2023 season and was an anchor in goal for the club with 93 saves and 10 shutouts while playing every minute of the regular season. Díaz becomes the first player to sign for a Liga MX side after playing for Locomotive FC, showcasing El Paso’s dedication to establishing itself as a premier destination in the USL Championship for player development and career progression.
“FC Juarez occupies a culturally distinctive position within the North American soccer landscape as we are a club on the U.S.-Mexico border that has the unique ability of attracting talent from both sides,” said Luis Rodriguez, President of FC Juárez. “Benny, alongside new talents poised to join our team in the future, plays an essential role in shaping our brand identity and advancing our strategic vision of attracting American talent to our bi-national club, offering them a platform to continue to develop their soccer careers within the best league in the Concacaf region, Liga MX.”
“I am excited to join an institution like FC Juárez that is growing and has a great project ahead,” Díaz said. “Likewise, I want to thank El Paso Locomotive FC for the opportunities it gave me to fight for my place on the team and have the season I had. I learned and grew a lot while I was with El Paso, and I am ready to get started with Juárez.”
Díaz joins a small group of players in the USL Championship’s history to join a club in Mexico’s top flight having previously competed in the league. Current Sacramento Republic FC Rodrigo Lopez competed for Toluca CF in 2017 and Veracruz in 2019 after helping lead Republic FC to its first league title, while Díaz’s new FC Juarez teammate Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo competed for Real Monarchs SLC at the start of his professional career.
Díaz’s move is the first of its kind between Locomotive FC and Juarez, but El Paso has welcomed players from FC Juarez in its five-season history including notable standouts Josue Aaron Gomez, Eder Borelli and Leandro Carrijo to its ranks over the years.
“The partnership between our two clubs stands as a fundamental pillar of MountainStar's vision, aimed at improving quality of life and driving economic growth in the Borderplex region through sports and entertainment,” President of MountainStar Sports Group Alan Ledford said. “Our shared vision is to cultivate world-class soccer talent from both countries. FC Juarez represents the sole first division major league sports franchise in the American Southwest, while Locomotive is distinguished as the sole USL club with a direct majority ownership connection to a team in either Liga MX or MLS.”
Now, Locomotive FC contributes directly to the strengthening of a Juárez First Team seeking to continue an upward trajectory within Mexican soccer. The partnership has been beneficial for both clubs and the Diaz transfer will only continue to fuel a growing desire to increase collaborative efforts on and off the pitch.
“This transfer shows commitment from both the Locomotive and Juárez technical staff, and a shared ownership group to demonstrate that for those who excel, there is a track to the next level within our own family,” General Manager, Business and Technical Operations Andrew Forrest said. “Benny is the first player in our history to take the player pathway from USL Championship to Liga MX, so we are very proud of him, and we look forward to following his career across the border.”