Casa Grande, Ariz – Last Friday (6/3/22), Real Salt Lake acquired 18-year-old Barça Residency Academy alumni Diego Luna from USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive. Luna inked the largest transfer deal in USL Championship history with his move to Major League Soccer. He is signed with RSL through the 2024 MLS season, with Club options for the 2025 and 2026 MLS seasons.
“Everyone at RSL welcomes the opportunity to further sharpen a young player such as Diego Luna on our senior roster, opening the doors of our Homegrown development paradigm to a proven, albeit young, dual national No. 10 on the ascent in his professional career,” said Real Salt Lake Technical Director Kurt Schmid. “Luna has blossomed in the last 18 months at El Paso, and we are excited to get him integrated into our system, to learn from Pablo Mastroeni and his staff.”
Luna signed his first professional contract with El Paso Locomotive in April of 2021 after spending the two previous years at Barca Residency Academy.
“Barca Residency Academy is a very special place,” said Luna in 2021 after signing with El Paso. “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.”
Over the weekend, just two days after his arrival to Salt Lake, Luna made his RSL first-team debut in the second half of their game vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The following day he started for Real Monarchs in an MLS NEXT Pro match vs. Whitecaps 2 where he played 84 minutes.
Considered one of the brightest talents in US Soccer, Luna and his former Barca Residency Academy teammates Caden Clark and Rokas Pukstas will represent the USA in the 2022 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Honduras, which will serve as the qualifier for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.