Four Spanish Newcomers Announced
Lane United FC today is welcoming four new Spanish players to the team: Cristian Couto, Richy Hurtado, Ismael (Isma) Fernández and Alex Pantoja. All four were chosen for the team by Lane United FC directors John and Dave Galas at the USA Tryouts that were held in Valencia, Spain in mid-March of this year, but the players had to wait until recently to see their paperwork cleared with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Another Spaniard, Josep Baldoví, well-known to Lane United fans from 2014, will be playing for the Reds in 2015 and recently received approval from the USSF as well. And three more Spanish players are waiting to be cleared; they will be announced on this blog as soon as that happens.
There is one defender among the new crop — Cristian Couto — while the other three newcomers plus Baldo are all midfielders. All the players have recently been plying their trade with regional or terçera (third) division clubs in Spain: Hurtado with UE Calonge in his native Catalonia; Pantoja and Fernández with Mirandés B and Gandía, respectively, near Valencia; and Couto with Móstoles CF outside Madrid.
The Spanish players will live with homestay families in the area for the duration of the season following their arrival in Eugene in the beginning of May.
Lane United FC sporting director and head coach John Galas was effusive in his praise of the Spaniards, each of whom he personally observed in Valencia in March. “I am excited to welcome these young men to the club in early May,” he said. “I think the fans will welcome them with open arms, and they will quickly learn that these players have a tremendous amount of talent. We had a clear objective when we went over to scout these players in March. We wanted players with great character, players with a solid playing background, and most importantly we wanted players that were excited to come play for Lane United FC. All of these young men tick all those boxes.”
“Through our relationship with GSG, and SoccerMedia, we found exactly what we were looking for. Each and every one of these players will come in and contribute right away. We had very specific needs position-wise as we went over to Spain, and those voids were filled. We’ve added quality in the defensive line, we’ve added numbers and loads of talent in our midfield, and we have complemented an already explosive and dynamic front line. Not only do these young men bring great experience to this team, there presence will allow us to have a much more balanced team as well as the ability to rest players when needed. The Premier Development League is a short, yet very intense season, so it is imperative to have quality in your starting XI, as well as your seven subs game in and game out. We have created a roster of quality and depth, and this will no doubt create competition in every training session.”
The 2015 Lane United FC season kicks off May 8 with a home match at the Willamalane Center in Springfield against South Sound FC, an EPLWA team from Tacoma, Washington. The league opener is on May 14 away to the Portland Timbers U-23s, and the home league opener is May 16 against the defending national PDL runners-up Kitsap Pumas.