Locomotive FC Loses Young Star Diego Luna to MLS Real Salt Lake
It was only a matter of time. When Diego Luna burst on the scene last season for El Paso Locomotive FC, most supporters cherished his time with the club because they knew the young star would not be in the Sun City for long. That was confirmed today when Real Salt Lake acquired the midfielder for what appears to be a record transfer fee for a USL to Major League Soccer player.
According to the story on the official MLS website, Locomotive FC will receive a $250,000 transfer fee from Real Salt Lake in exchange for Luna. In addition, sources told MLS that San Jose Earthquakes will also receive $50,000 General Allocation Money (GAM) plus another $100,000 in incentives. If Luna is transferred out of MLS in the future, the Earthquakes will get a percentage of that transaction. The Northern California native was in the Earthquakes Academy prior to his time in El Paso.
Luna has played in 43 matches for Locomotive FC and he has tallied 13 goals and nine assists. Earlier this spring, he was called up to the U.S. Under-20 Men's National team. Interestingly enough, when we interviewed him via Zoom last season, he was not shy in telling us that he wanted to ball because he knew he always had a chance to score when given the opportunity. That mindset made him an instant El Paso fan favorite. Now, he will have a chance to make a name for himself in MLS with Real Salt Lake, and as soon as this Saturday when they play Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
As for Locomotive FC, Luna will be tough to replace but the club has plenty of offensive stars this season for head coach John Hutchinson. It should also be noted that the number one goal for this club is to develop their young talent and give them the opportunity to play in MLS or Europe. That is exactly what happened to Diego Luna.