April 5, 2021
Casa Grande, Ariz – Barça Residency Academy midfielder Diego Luna signed his first professional contract with USL Championship club, El Paso Locomotive FC, the club announced today. Luna, 17, is the ninth Barça Residency Academy player to make the jump from the academy to the pros.
“Diego is highly rated across the country and has been on the radar of many MLS teams,” said Locomotive FC Head Coach and Technical Director Mark Lowry. “For him and his family to choose El Paso as his home is a great feather in the cap for the Club. We believe we have the best environment to push Diego and develop him to reach his ceiling, which we believe is a very high one. The hard work begins now for Diego, and we look forward to going on this journey with him.”
“I am beyond excited to start my career with the El Paso Locomotive,” said Luna. “I believe it is way more special as I had opportunities with other clubs but I felt that El Paso was the place for me on and off field… I’m really looking forward to showcasing myself at a higher level and to present my talent to a bigger audience.”
The Northern California native joined Barça Residency Academy midway through the 2018-19 season and had an immediate impact on the program with his leadership and dynamic goal scoring ability.
“We are delighted to see Diego take the next step in his soccer career with El Paso Locomotive FC in the USL Championship,” said Barça Residency Academy U-19 Head Coach and Academy Director Ged Quinn. “Diego has been an excellent leader both on and off the field during his three years with us as well as being a tremendous role model to the younger players here at the residency academy. I am excited to see him continue his development with El Paso Locomotive FC under the guidance of Coach Mark Lowry. The Barca family will continue to support him from afar and we wish him the best of luck with what we know will be an exciting career ahead for him.”
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Luna began playing club soccer at the age of five with Palo Alto Soccer Club under the coaching of his father, Alberto. He later joined San Jose Earthquakes Academy at the age of 12 prior to joining Barça Residency Academy at the age of 15.
“Barca Residency Academy is a very special place,” Luna stated. “They’ve helped me grow as not only a soccer player but as a person. My experience there showed me how to mature earlier than a normal teenager and with that it strengthened my mindset to continue the path I’m on. It also developed my tactical, physical and soccer IQ… Sharing the same dream with all these guys is an awesome experience and makes you want to want it more, I think that’s a great place to be.”
You can catch Luna and Locomotive FC against New Mexico United on May 8, 2021 when the club returns to action for its third season in the USL Championship.