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American Exports: U-20 World Cup vet, Santos Laguna M Benji Joya close to signing with MLS

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Santos Laguna U-20 midfielder Benji Joya could be heading north to join a Major League Soccer club within the next week, MLSsoccer.com has learned.

According to a source close to the player, the US youth international is close to signing with the league. The MLS player personnel department confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Sunday that Joya has a deal in place on the condition that teams express interest in participating in a lottery for the player's rights. Clubs have until Monday evening to do so.

The deal would be a one-year loan with a transfer option, according to MLS vice president of player personnel Lino DiCuollo.

Joya was an important figure in Tab Ramos’ US side at the FIFA U-20 World Cup last summer, but has found first-team chances limited with Los Guerreros.

The 20-year-old San Jose, Calif., native has played four Liga MX games in total for Santos Laguna and appeared in the Copa MX twice.

Former teammate Daniel Cuevas left Santos during the past transfer window to join Lobos BUAP.

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