ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis FC announced on Wednesday it had signed El Salvador international Joaquin Rivas and defender Oscar Umar for the 2019 USL Championship season. The signings are pending league and federation approval.
A native of Santa Ana, El Salvador who grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rivas has recorded 17 goals and three assists in 81 appearances in the USL Championship, and had a breakout season in 2018 for Tulsa Roughnecks FC. The attacking midfielder scored 12 goals to lead Tulsa during the regular season and scored his first goal for El Salvador in a 1-0 victory against Haiti in an international exhibition this November.
“I am excited to start my new journey with Saint Louis FC,” said Rivas. “I’ve heard nothing but great feedback from the organization, and I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates and the fans.”
The 26-year-old had previously attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) where he made 67 appearances and scored 11 goals during his collegiate career. Rivas then played one season in USL League Two with the Kitsap Pumas before joining the professional ranks with Sacramento Republic FC at the start of the 2015 USL Championship season. After two years with Sacramento, Rivas joined the Roughnecks for the past two seasons and made 62 appearances, helping the side reach the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs.
“We’re obviously delighted to have signed Joaquin, someone who is a quality player and has the potential to be a difference-maker,” said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “Recruiting a naturally left-footed attacking player was one of the main priorities for us this offseason. He had a very productive year for Tulsa by scoring 12 goals from an attacking/wide midfield position, and he’s got a great football brain with the technical ability to match. Joaquin is another great person who will mesh well with our group and is very determined to keep improving.”
Umar has spent the past two seasons with the Richmond Kickers, where he made 36 appearances in the USL Championship. A native of Tamale, Ghana, Umar moved to the United States in 2008 as part of the Right to Dream Academy, and subsequently attended Villanova University where he appeared in 74 games and scored five goals and tallied 12 assists during his collegiate career. Umar also competed in USL League Two for the Ocean City Nor’easters in 2016 before joining the pro ranks with Richmond in 2017.
“Oscar is someone who caught my eye back in 2017 playing for Richmond,” said Pulis. “For a guy that’s so big, he has great technical ability and is very composed on the ball. He has a good range of passing and reads the game well. He is still a young player who I think has a lot of potential and is very hungry to do well.”