New Lights FC signees Eric Avila (left) and Daniel Guzmán Jr. compete during training in their first week with the club.. (Maddie Dobbins / Lights FC)
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As Las Vegas Lights FC embarks on a key USL midseason push, the club has signed three proven, veteran players to its roster. Also this week, the club welcomes back Juan Jose Calderon from an injury suffered shortly after he led Lights FC in scoring in the preseason.
Signing with Lights FC this week are forward Daniel Guzmán Jr., midfielder Eric Avila and defender Rodrigo Iñigo.
Avila will be available to play immediately for Lights FC, who travels to face FC Golden State Force on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in third round action of the U.S. Open Cup, then takes on LA Galaxy II in USL regular season play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in Carson, Calif.
Guzmán Jr. and Iñigo are signed, though cannot compete for the club until the receipt of their International Transfer Certificates once the U.S. Soccer Federation’s International Summer Transfer Window opens on July 10. In the meantime, both will be training daily with the club.
As for Calderon, he made his regular season debut as a late substitution in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Real Monarchs SLC at Cashman Field. During the club’s Soccer Spring Training against Major League Soccer competition, Calderon scored three of the club’s four goals, tallying two against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and one against D.C. United.
In conjunction with the new additions to the roster, the club has parted ways with four players – forwards Isaac Díaz and Anuar Kanan, midfielder Adolfo Guzman and defender Jorge Guillen-Torres.
Meet the newest Lights FC signees:
#12 – Eric Avila – Midfielder – San Diego, Calif.
- Enjoyed a standout collegiate career at UC Santa Barbara, including scoring the game-winning goal in the NCAAA National Championship game against UCLA in 2006.
- Played in MLS from 2008-14, including appearances with FC Dallas (63), Toronto FC (33), Chivas USA (57) and Orlando City (21).
- Played in USL for Tampa Bay Rowdies (2016) and Phoenix Rising (2017).
- Played for Lights FC Technical Director Chelís at Chivas USA in 2013.
- Played with current Lights FC midfielder Freddy Adu in Tampa Bay in 2016.
- Played for the United States U-17 and U-20 National Teams.
LIGHTS FC HEAD COACH ISIDRO SÁNCHEZ ON AVILA: “We know him – 75, 80 percent of our offensive play at Chivas USA was based in Avila, and with his skills playing along the right sideline. If he has a one-on-one situation offensively, he just needs a small gap to get by. He’s very vertical and offensive, is always thinking offensively. He’s continued to improve since three years ago.”
#58 – Daniel Guzmán Jr. – Forward – Guadalajara, Mexico
- Son of Daniel Guzmán, who played for 15+ years in LigaMX, played for Mexican National Team and has managed clubs in LigaMX and beyond since 2002.
- Signed with Santos Laguna of LigaMX in 2008.
- Comes to Las Vegas after playing two seasons with Suchitepéquez in Liga Nacional – first division in Guatemala.
- One of the top goal scorers in Liga Nacional, Guzmán scored 10 goals in 17 appearances with Suchitepéquez in 2017.
ISIDRO SÁNCHEZ ON GUZMÁN: “He is a striker, he will be complimentary to Sammy Ochoa, with different characteristics. Personally, I identify a lot with him, because his father was a famous player. He wants to get out of his comfort zone in Mexico, come to a new country and make a new name for himself. He’s a player we’ve been searching for.”
#4 – Rodrigo Iñigo – Defender – Mexico City, Mexico
- Came up in the Club America (LigaMX) Academy. Was signed by Club America in 2006, was with the club through 2014.
- Most recently played with Venados of AscensoMX (34 appearances), who he signed with in 2016.
- Played for Lights FC Technical Director Chelís at Venados in 2016 & 2017, where he was a captain.
- Trained with Lights FC during the 2018 preseason.
ISIDRO SÁNCHEZ ON IÑIGO: “He’s a leader, a very experienced player. We know what we are looking for from him. He knows our philosophy, and he’s a major player. He has consistency, and knows how to maintain an ultimate level.”