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Eight El Paso Locomotive FC Academy Players Sign USL Academy Contracts

By EP Locomotive FC, 03/22/23, 5:45PM MDT


EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC signed eight of its Academy players to USL Academy contracts at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, pending league and federation approval. The USL Academy contracts will provide the young players with opportunities to train and compete with the professional senior team without affecting their eligibility to play college soccer.  

“This is a very special group of kids and as their coach, I am very proud of them,” Academy Director and Locomotive U-20 Coach Ivan Militar said. “This will be the foundation that can kick them along to do more.” 

The players signed are as follows:  

  • Peleg Armendariz (MF), 17 years old 
  • Marton Demko (DF), 17 years old 
  • Alex Estrada (MF), 18 years old 
  • Finnley O’Brien (DF), 16 years old 
  • Damion Perez (MF), 15 years old 
  • Rommel Tarin (GK), 18 years old 
  • Santiago Vargas (GK), 14 years old 
  • Joseluis Villagomez (DF), 16 years old 

The press conference, presented by Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, can be watched in its entirety here, click here

As stated by Militar during the press conference, the Locomotive Academy has focused on two main objectives since its foundation in 2020: to be the best academy in the region and to send players either to college or the first team.  

With the high expectations the Academy has set upon itself, it has managed to achieve some impressive accomplishments including: 

  • Signing its first two Academy products, Diego Abarca and Joel Maldonado, to professional contracts.  
  • 11 players so far committing to colleges at all levels across the country. 
  • Competing in the Dallas Cup, the biggest international youth soccer tournament. In 2022, the El Paso Locomotive Academy U-19 team made a deep run in the tournament, making it all the way to the semifinals. 

“This is a testament to the players; this is earned and well deserved,” General Manager, Business & Technical Operations Andrew Forrest said. “I am extremely proud of them and the coaching staff for what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time.”  

Having been in the players’ shoes just last year, first-team midfielder Diego Abarca, the club’s youngest ever goal scorer, was present to speak on his experiences as a USL Academy player last season and the opportunities a USL Academy contract can provide. 

“It’s important for young players to get the chance to prove themselves at a top level,” Abarca said. “My experience with the Academy is one I’ll never forget. It’s a blessing signing these contracts; it was a very special moment for me, and I hope it is for the players as well.”