American Exports: Cal FC 'keeper headed to El Salvador

Cal FC goalkeeper Derby Carrillo

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Portland Timbers

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It wasn't just in the US that people were sitting up and taking notice of Cal FC's historic US Open Cup run.

Down in El Salvador, Santa Tecla FC were keeping a firm eye on the amateur team's starting goalkeeper, Derby Carrillo. After agreeing on terms, the Salvadoran first-division club expects Carrillo to put pen to paper this week.  

“It's a different chapter of my career, something that can perhaps propel me to the [Salvadoran] national team,” a delighted Carrillo told MLSsoccer.com by phone from El Salvador on Tuesday.

Carrillo, who was released by FC New York and the Seattle Sounders before hooking up with Eric Wynalda's Cal FC, was on trial at Santa Tecla for a week and impressed the clubs Argentine coach Osvaldo Escudero.

“He's a good goalkeeper, I've liked the work he has done since he joined up with us and that's why I've given the green light to the directors,” Escudero told El Gráfico on Monday.

The 24-year-old La Mirada, Calif., native, whose father is from El Salvador and mother from Guatemala, has had talks with people within the Salvadorian soccer federation and makes the move south with one eye on trying to become an international player.

Carrillo was more than happy to hand a large chunk of the credit for the exposure he has recently enjoyed to Cal FC's USOC adventure, in which the 6-foot-4 'keeper was a key figure.

“Cal FC got the ball moving again in my career and the career of a lot of players,” he said. “That win up in Portland definitely created a lot of buzz and I guess that helped us in a lot of ways.”

Carrillo has moved to the city of Santa Tecla that hasn't had a team in El Salvador's top flight for almost 50 years, meaning excitement is at fever pitch around town, with the new Apertura season kicking off this Friday against last season's regular season top-placed side Isidro Metapán.

The Southern Californian is hoping to get the nod from Escudero to start the game which will be the start of big things in his professional career down south.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.