Costa Rican youth international Walter Cortes has been loaned to the Bethlehem Steel FC for the 2019 season from Deportivo Saprissa, the team announced on Thursday.
“We are very excited to have Walter joining Steel this year,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner in a press release. “He is a skilled, intelligent player that brings passion and discipline to Steel’s young squad with great potential to develop further with us.”
The 19-year-old Cortes has been with the team since joining the group in Clearwater, Florida to open preseason and earned his first minutes in a 1-0 loss to D.C. United. He’s been a regular presence at left back throughout preseason since.
“Walter has impressed so far in preseason, with dogged determination on the defensive side of the ball and good technical ability and passing range on the offensive side of the ball,” added Steel FC Head Coach Brendan Burke in the press release. “We are excited for him to challenge the core of first-team left backs in the coming months.”
Cortes featured for the Costa Rica U20 national team in the CONCACAF U20 Championship in Florida last spring (along with Steel FC striker Saed Diaz and Union first team players Mark McKenzie, Matthew Real and Anthony Fontana).
He’s the fourth international player brought in on loan this season for the Steel. Diaz is on loan from Tauro FC in Panama, 19-year-old defender Steven Kingue is on loan from Nfuko Academy Sports in Cameroon and Chavany Willis is on loan from Portmore United in Jamaica.
Cortes will occupy an international spot on the roster bringing the team’s total internationals to seven out of seven available. James Chambers, Steven Kingue, Saed Diaz and Michee Ngalina, who has spent the bulk of preseason with the first team but is still on the Steel roster, are the others. The total roster is now 11 players deep, one shy of the minimum 12 required by the league.