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Philadelphia Union Academy adds USYNT midfielder from San Diego

Diego Lopez will play midfield for the Philadelphia Union U17

Diego Lopez celebrates a goal in a penalty shootout against the Philadelphia Union in GA Cup qualifiers in October 2019
Matt Ralph

A 15-year-old midfielder from Del Mar, California is arriving this week to join the Philadelphia Union Academy.

Diego Lopez is joining the Union from San Diego Surf, but he’s also spent time with MLS academies Real Salt Lake and LAFC and is part of the current pool of 2005-born U.S. youth national team players.

“Diego is a talented central midfielder who will suit our style of play very well in the future,” said Jon Scheer, Philadelphia Union Academy Director of Talent Identification. “His understanding of the game is quite impressive and the proactive nature of his play is exactly what we look for when scouting.”

Lopez is the second high-profile addition to the Union Academy this month. Bajung Darboe joined the academy from Madison, Wisconsin a few weeks ago. He was considered the highest-rated prospect among a group of players who departed the Minnesota United Academy after their decision to switch to a club and country model.

“He brings a level of calmness and game intelligence in the way he plays,” Academy Director Tommy Wilson said of his new holding midfielder. “It’s hard to find that type of player.”

Wilson said Lopez trained with Union II during a recent visit after their season had ended and that he fit right in with the group.

“We liked him and he liked us,” Wilson said.

Look for Lopez to compete with the Union U17s in MLS Next and also get minutes with Union II as they compete in some upcoming friendlies.