Rio Grande Valley FC, the USL affiliate of the Houston Dynamo, announced several roster moves today ahead of the start of the 2018 USL season, pending league and federation approval. The Toros kick off tonight at 7:30 p.m. at H-E-B Park against Saint Louis FC (WATCH).
Midfielders Victor Garza and Jorginho James return their second and third year with the Toros, respectively. RGV FC also signed three Dynamo draft picks in midfielder Pablo Aguilar and defenders Manny Padilla and Sheldon Sullivan. Additionally, RGV FC has signed DF Robert Castellanos, FW Guillermo Delgado, FW Jordan Jones, DF Derek Luke, FW John Montaño, FW Aldo Quintanilla, FW Zach Wright and MF Matías Zaldívar.
“We are very pleased to round out the roster with the latest group of signings and excited to the start the season. This group will add quality and competition at every position,” said Houston Dynamo Assistant General Manager Nick Kowba. “These players fit the profile we look for at RGV and the vision of the project. They are young, talented, and hungry to develop and we are excited to provide a platform and a pathway for them.”
Garza will return to RGV FC on loan from Liga MX club Tigres UANL. The McAllen, Texas native played in 20 games for his hometown team last year. In 2015, the young midfielder played for Arat Yerevan in the Armenian Premier League, where he played in multiple games and dished an assist. Garza made his professional debut with Tigres in 2012 when he came in as a substitute in a 2-2 draw against Unión Española in the second leg of the Qualification Round of the 2012 Copa Libertadores.
James returns to the Toros on loan from Jamaican club Harbour View. In his tenure with RGV FC, James has played in 41 games and scored two goals. Last year, the 23-year-old Jamaican joined the Dynamo for two games during the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, playing in one when he came in as a substitute during the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“We are happy with the new additions that we were able to sign. We are hoping that they can have an impact on our team,” said RGV FC head coach Gerson Echeverry. “We feel good about the new players and the returning players, and we will work to integrate everyone as quickly as possible.”
Aguilar, who holds dual nationality with Guatemala and the United States, joins RGV FC after spending the preseason with the Dynamo. The Guatemala City, Guatemala native played in three preseason games with the Dynamo after being drafted with the 59th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. Aguilar won the NCAA National Championship with the University of Virginia in 2014.
Castellanos, a native of Palmdale, California, played in 16 games for LA Galaxy II in 2017. The young defender spent time in the U.S. Youth National Team system when he was called to an Under-20 training camp in July 2016. Before signing with LA Galaxy II, Castellanos was under contract with Liga MX’s team Atlas FC.
Delgado was drafted by the Chicago Fire with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. The young forward left the University of Delaware as the school’s all-time leader in goals and assists with 49 goals and 19 assists. Delgado’s performance earned him a nomination to the MAC Hermann Award Watch List in 2016.
Jones was drafted by Los Angeles FC with the 47th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. The Pacific Grove, California native played for Oregon State University where he scored 29 goals and dished four assists during his college career. Jones was named to the Second Team All-Pacific 12 Conference in 2016 and 2017.
Luke joins RGV FC after spending the last two seasons with FC Cincinnati in the USL. The Bridgewater Township, New Jersey native played in 27 games for FC Cincinnati and earned a total of 854 minutes. In college, Luke helped the Monmouth Hawks win the 2011 Northeast Conference Championship and the 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament.
Montaño, a Tumáco, Colombia native, will join RGV FC after playing with America de Cali’s Under-20 squad last year. Montaño played with the Toros during the preseason against the Dynamo and Motagua.
Padilla was drafted by the Dynamo with the 89th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. A Compton, California native, he started in 67 of the 69 games he played for University of San Francisco. The team captain recorded 14 assists during his college career and led the Dons to the West Coast Conference title in 2017.
Sullivan was drafted by the Dynamo with the 66th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. The young defender played in 78 career games and started 70 for the Cavaliers. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, the Stafford, Virginia native was the only Cavalier to start all 23 matches and played all 2,174 minutes in UVA’s run to the national championship, earning All-Tournament Team honors in the NCAA College Cup. A versatile defender, Sullivan started games at left back, center back and left wing. As a senior, he started all 21 games and finished fourth on the team with 1,934 minutes played.
Quintanilla will join RGV FC pending the receipt of his ITC. The young forward comes to the Toros from Liga MX club Queretaro. Before joining Los Gallos Blancos, Quintanilla was in the Santos Laguna Academy system and played in the Viareggio Cup in 2015, scoring two goals against Empoli’s U-19 team.
Wright joins RGV FC after spending time with Sporting Kansas City. The 22-year old played for the University of North Carolina from 2014-2017, he helped the Tar Heels advance to the NCAA Tournament for four straight years and advance to the Men’s College Cup in 2016 and 2017.
Zaldívar will join the Toros coming from for Arsenal de Sarandi. The Avellaneda, Argentina native made his professional debut in a 0-0 draw against Belgrano on May 14, 2014, when he came in as a substitute for midfielder Julian Cardozo.
The hybrid relationship between the Dynamo and RGV FC in which the Dynamo control all aspects of soccer operations, including employment of the technical staff and player selection, while RGV FC manages the business side of the club, was unique in MLS when RGV FC was launched in 2016 and has quickly been emulated by multiple MLS clubs over the past year.
TRANSACTION: RGV FC re-signs MF Jorginho James and Victor Garza; signs MF Pablo Aguilar, DF Robert Castellanos, FW Guillermo Delgado, DF Derek Luke, FW Jordan Jones, FW John Montaño, DF Manny Padilla, DF Sheldon Sullivan, FW Aldo Quintanilla, FW Zach Wright and MF Matías Zaldívar