Las Vegas Lights FC announce first wave of signings


Los Angeles FC

Las Vegas Lights FC goalkeeper Phillip Ejimadu

Alejandro Cuevas Rodriguez , Sports/Opinion Writer

The Las Vegas Lights FC announced a wave of player signings on April 5 following a preseason friendly with Major League Soccer affiliate club Los Angeles FC. A total of nine players were signed:

-24 year old American-Peruvian midfielder Daniel Crisostomo (formerly with Orange County SC)

-20 year old Sierra Leonean midfielder Frank Daroma (formerly with Cal State University and Barcelona Academy)

-21 year old American-Brazilian goalkeeper Phillip Ejimadu (formerly loaned to San Diego Loyal by LAFC)

-23 year old American-Macedonian defender Eric Iloski (drafted by MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

-20 year old Salvadoran right winger Roberto Molina (formerly with UC Irvine)

-22 year old American goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull (on loan from English club Portsmouth FC)

-19 year old Ghanaian midfielder Michael Yeboah (on loan from Ghanaian club Accra Great Olympics)

-23 year old American defender Chinenye Chidera Uche (formerly with Ohio State University)

-18 year old American midfielder Nathan Sepulveda (recruited from Walnut High School)

It seems as if these players were clearly signed in order for them to develop some sort of professional experience before being exposed to Major League Soccer. For example, Daniel Crisostomo was a versatile midfielder when he played for Orange County SC within the USL Championship and he was very sought after within the league, so the best decision was to bring him over to an affiliate club such as the Lights in order for him to gain more experience and playing time as a key player before making the jump to MLS.

As for the other young rookie signings such as Roberto Molina and Nathan Sepulveda, they seem to compliment the idea of affiliate clubs being the bridge between academies and the actual MLS team itself. An example of this is Tacoma Defiance, Seattle Sounders FC’s USL Championship affiliate club, whose squad has an average age of 21.2 years old.

Head coach Steve Cherundolo’s experience with developing and scouting young talent is definitely on display with these signings. The college rookies he signed have received multiple accolades, and the players who were second round picks in the MLS SuperDraft provide a perfect balance of talent that should suit a young squad very well in this 2021 season.

Las Vegas Lights FC’s 2021 season is set to kick off on May 5 at Dignity Health Sports Park when they face off against Los Angeles Galaxy II. Games can be streamed live on ESPN+.