US striker Diego Luna gives shout out to El Paso after big goal at U-20 World Cup
Diego Luna left the El Paso Locomotive almost one year ago for the MLS' Real Salt Lake, but his electric time here is still remembered, particularly by the 19-year-old striker.
Luna, wearing the No. 10 for the US U-20 national team at the U-20 World Cup, came off the bench at the start of the second half and scored the US's first goal in a 3-0 victory over Fiji Tuesday night that put them on the verge of advancing out of the group stage.
Afterward, on the Futbol Americas podcast with Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez, Luna was asked about his time in El Paso at the beginning of his professional career.
"Going to El Paso was a dream start to a professional career," Luna said. "I went there to a place that was loving, that loved the sport, that loved the team and the staff. Everyone there, the players, supported me, gave me the confidence on and off the field.
"I don't think without El Paso and without everyone that helped me there, I would be where I'm at today."
Diego Luna gave El Paso some love last night on Futbol Americas after his spectacular performance with the US U-20 Men's National Team! 💙 #LocoFamilia pic.twitter.com/jodn0lY17a
— El Paso Locomotive FC (@eplocomotivefc) May 24, 2023
"It was the best thing in my career so far that has led me to all these things. I don't think without El Paso and without everyone that helped me there, I would be where I'm at today. The community, the staff, everyone that helped me or I’ve been in touch there helped me in some way or form to get me where I’m at. It was a dream start."
Salt Lake bought Luna's rights last June 2 for $250,000, a record transfer fee for a USL-to-MLS transaction. The Locomotive were his first professional team when he signed in 2021 at age 17 and he went on to score 13 goals in 41 appearances with the team.
Shortly after leaving for Salt Lake, Luna scored a goal in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships against Nicaragua and had similar comments about his love for El Paso.
At Salt Lake this season he has appeared in five of the team's 13 games.
The US U-20's next World Cup game is Friday against Slovakia, in the last game of group stage.
Bret Bloomquist can be reached at 915-546-6359; firstname.lastname@example.org; @Bretbloomquist on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Diego Luna gives shout out to El Paso after goal with US national team