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Diego Luna leads USL alumni on United States Men’s National Team roster

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/05/24, 12:55PM EST


2021 Championship All-League selection joined by numerous standouts from Championship, League One, League Two

Former USL Championship standout Diego Luna is among 17 first-time call-ups for the United States' contest against Slovenia on January 20 at Toyota Field in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO – 2021 USL Championship All-League selection Diego Luna on Friday earned his first selection to the United States Men’s National Team, with the 20-year-old set to return to Texas – the launching point of his professional career with El Paso Locomotive FC – as the side faces Slovenia at Toyota Field, home of the USL Championship’s San Antonio FC on Saturday, January 20.

Luna joined the professional ranks with Locomotive FC from Barca AZ Residency Academy as a 17-year-old prior to the 2021 season and made an immediate impact in the lineup. He recorded nine goals and five assists in 2,018 minutes across the regular season and playoffs, earning All-League honors as well as being nominated as a finalist for the Championship’s Young Player of the Year award.

His play saw him called up to the United States U-20 Men’s National Team late in 2021 as it began its progression toward the 2023 FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup. He was part of the squad that helped the United States claim the Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship and helped the side advance to the Quarterfinals of the World Cup this past June.

New United States Men's National Team call-up Diego Luna was voted to the 2021 USL Championship All-League Team and was a finalist for the Young Player of the Year award the same season. | Photo courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre / El Paso Locomotive FC

In June of 2022, he was transferred for a domestic USL Championship-record fee to Real Salt Lake, where this past season he recorded five goals and three assists in 1,201 minutes in the regular season before scoring twice in three games in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Luna is among 17 first-time call-ups that also feature numerous fellow Championship alumni alongside those who made their name in USL League One and USL League Two at the start of their careers. Joining Luna in the forward corps is Duncan McGuire, who starred for Lane United FC in League Two before joining the professional ranks this season at Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer.

McGuire had a stellar first professional season with the Lions, recording 13 goals in 29 appearances while leading the side into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Forward Duncan McGuire recorded four goals and three assists in 11 appearances for Lane United FC in the 2022 USL League Two season. | Photo courtesy Lane United FC

Another former League Two standout is Brian White, who earned the league’s Player of the Year and Golden Boot award in 2017 for the New York Red Bulls U-23. White went on to star for the New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship, where he recorded 11 goals and five assists in 28 appearances before joining the Red Bulls’ First Team on a permanent basis. In 2021, White was traded to Vancouver Whitecaps FC where he has gone from strength to strength, and now has 46 goals and 15 assists in 132 MLS regular season appearances.

Bernard Kamungo leads the USL League One representation on the squad, meanwhile, with the former North Texas SC standout having recorded six goals in 1,193 minutes on his rapid ascent through FC Dallas’ system. Earning his first professional contract through an open tryout, the native of Tanzania recorded six goals in 495 minutes this past campaign in Major League Soccer.

Overall, Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad includes players who have recorded 256 appearances and 19,663 minutes of action in the USL Championship, 71 appearances and 4,724 minutes of action in USL League One, while also including five alumni from USL League Two.

United States Men’s National Team Roster vs. Slovenia
Toyota Field, San Antonio
2 p.m. CT | Saturday, January 20

GOALKEEPERS (3): Drake Callender (Inter Miami; 0/0)**, Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew; 0/0)*

DEFENDERS (10): Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; 0/0)*, DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 7/0)***, Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 17/1), Ian Murphy (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Jackson Ragen (Seattle Sounders; 0/0)*, Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; 27/3)*/***, James Sands (New York City FC; 13/0)*, Nkosi Tafari (FC Dallas; 0/0)**, John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; 3/0)*, Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United; 1/0)*

MIDFIELDERS (6): Joshua Atencio (Seattle Sounders; 0/0)*, Aziel Jackson (St. Louis City; 0/0)**, Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; 0/0)*, Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew; 4/0), Timmy Tillman (LAFC; 0/0), Sean Zawadzki (Columbus Crew; 0/0)***

FORWARDS (6): Esmir Bajraktarevic (New England Revolution; 0/0)**, Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/1)*, Bernard Kamungo (FC Dallas; 0/0)**, Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)*, Duncan McGuire (Orlando City; 0/0)***, Brian White (Vancouver Whitecaps/CAN; 0/0)*/***

Alumni Key
* - USL Championship
** - USL League One
*** - USL League Two

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