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Ray Serrano’s work-rate, desire shining in LouCity’s perfect start | Young Player Spotlight

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/01/24, 3:50PM EDT


21-year-old has notched two goals, one assist over past two outings as game has found another level

Louisville City FC's Ray Serrano has burst out of the gates this season and been key to his side's perfect start to the campaign. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

Having gone a full season without recording a goal for Louisville City FC, Ray Serrano last week described getting his first goal of the season against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on March 23 as a “weight off his shoulders.”

With a goal and assist in Saturday’s 5-0 victory against Birmingham Legion FC, the 21-year-old continued his stellar start to the new season in which he’s firmly positioned himself so far in the side’s best lineup.

Serrano is in his third season in Louisville, joining the club as a teenager after graduating from the Seattle Sounders FC Academy and establishing his career in the Championship with Tacoma Defiance. He’s now in his seventh campaign in the league overall and has surpassed 100 appearances and 5,000 minutes in the league across the regular season and playoffs.

That’s as many appearances as some players make in a career but is just the platform for where Serrano may be headed next. After a strong preseason, he’s found another level in his productivity to little surprise for Head Coach Danny Cruz.

“He came into this season wanting more than he had last year and he’s done it with the right attitude, the right work-rate,” said Cruz last week. “He’s in here twice a day, every day. He comes into training, he’ll go home, he’ll rest, and he’ll be back in the afternoon. He has his process, and his process works for him, and right now he’s playing at a high level, but the biggest reason for that is his work-rate.

“He’s a kid that I can rely on with and without the ball consistently, and he’s got a lot of competition pushing him every day, so all those things put him in a position to continue to progress. He’s a young player – people don’t understand that because he’s been in the league so long – but we’re certainly not surprised with his performances up to this point.”

As Louisville enters its first LIPAFC clash of the season with Indy Eleven on CBS this Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET, Serrano is poised to show a national audience what he’s capable of.

Here are some of the other young players that caught our eye in the past weekend of action…

- Shawn Smart, Las Vegas Lights FC: The 20-year-old delivered a diligent defensive display recording 10 recoveries, four clearances and two interceptions while winning 13 of 22 duels and 3 of 5 tackles.

- Ashton Miles, Orange County SC: The 19-year-old center back continued to impress winning 3 of 3 aerial duels and 1 of 1 tackles as he helped Orange County earn a second shutout of the season and remain undefeated.

- Coleman Gannon, Las Vegas Lights FC: The 21-year-old scored the opening goal in the Lights’ victory against Oakland Roots SC and completed 16 of 18 passes overall while winning 7 of 13 duels overall.

- Rocco Ríos Novo, Phoenix Rising FC: The 21-year-old continued to shine despite Phoenix’s 1-0 setback against New Mexico United, recording eight saves including a penalty stop of United’s Greg Hurst.

- Elijah Wynder, Louisville City FC: The 21-year-old continued his strong start to the season, completing 30 of 33 passes and winning 2 of 2 tackles while making six recoveries in LouCity’s 5-0 win against Birmingham Legion FC.

- Aldair Sanchez, Sacramento Republic FC: The 21-year-old had three chances created and completed 25 of 27 passes and 2 of 2 dribbles overall while winning 4 of 5 ground duels defensively in his side’s 1-0 victory against Memphis 901 FC.

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