The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros announced today the club has signed six new players: Goalkeepers Arturo Sanchez and Callum Irving, defender Leo Ayala, midfielder Emilio García, midfielder/forward José Escalante and forward Kyle Murphy. Escalante (Honduras), García (Mexico) and Irving (Canada) will be added to the Toros roster pending receipt of their P-1 Visa and international transfer certificate. The Toros are the USL hybrid affiliate of the Dynamo and open their inaugural season in the United Soccer League on Saturday at Tulsa Roughnecks FC (7 p.m. CT; WATCH).
“With the addition of these six players we feel our roster has the depth and the possibilities to produce internal competition and improve all our positions on the field,” RGV FC head coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “Callum and Arturo are two goalkeepers with different styles and backgrounds and add talent to the team. Emilio and Jose are two of our foreign players with experience at the professional level and national team experience. Leo, a defender, and Kyle, a forward, had great college careers and join the team to compete for a spot and consistency at the professional level.”
“We are very pleased to sign these latest players as they round out our roster,” Dynamo assistant general manager Nick Kowba said. “They not only address positional needs, adding depth and competition at every spot, but also add young, exciting, attack-minded players and solid defensive options ready to compete and continue their development.”
Ayala, 22, is a product of the Houston Dynamo Academy after joining in 2009. The outside back spent four seasons at the University of Central Florida (2011-14), gaining Conference USA All-Freshman honors in 2011.
Escalante joins RGV FC on loan from Honduran powerhouse Olimpia, the former club of Dynamo veteran Boniek García. The 20-year-old played at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and has experience with the Honduras U-17 national team. The Tegucigalpa native made his Olimpia debut in 2012.
García, 21, joins the Toros on loan from Mexican club Pachuca. The Tijuana native made his Liga MX debut in the 2012 Apertura and scored three goals in 13 appearances across all competitions for Pachuca from 2012-13. The attacker has spent loan spells with Tlaxcala FC and CD Estudiantes.
Irving, 22, was named first-team NSCAA All-America and first-team Scholar All-America in 2015, the first University of Kentucky player to earn first-team All-America honors. He led Kentucky to an undefeated season in Conference USA in 2015 and earned third-team All-America honors in 2014. The Vancouver, British Columbia native is a product of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy (2007-12) and a veteran of Canada’s youth national teams. Irving earned his first call up to the Canada men’s national team in January and was an unused substitute in a 1-0 U.S. win.
Sanchez spent the last two years with the Fort Worth Vaqueros in the National Premier Soccer League (U.S. Soccer fourth tier). The 25-year-old was born in Coahuila, Mexico and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. The goalkeeper played at Trinity University in San Antonio before transferring to Texas Wesleyan University.
Murphy, 23, helped Clemson University reach the NCAA College Cup championship game in 2015, tallying eight goals and four assists in 23 appearances (two starts). The Red Hook, New York native earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference tournament honors and was named to the All-ACC Academic team. Murphy played youth soccer with New York Soccer Club.
The RGV FC roster now stands at 21 players for the 2016 season: Leo Ayala, Eric Bird, T.J. Casner, Dzenan Catic, José Escalante, Juan “Charly” Flores, Emilio García, Kevin Garcia, Kai Greene, Taylor Hunter, Callum Irving, Jorginho James, Christian Lucatero (on loan from the Dynamo), Ivan Magalhães, George Malki, Kyle Murphy, Devin Perales, Memo Rodriguez, Arturo Sanchez, Charlie Ward and Todd Wharton. Several Dynamo First Team players will join RGV FC on loan at various times throughout the season. Defender Bradley Bourgeois has joined RGV FC on loan for Saturday’s game at Tulsa.