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Chivas introduce new star Romero

CARSON, Calif. -- Chivas USA unveiled the latest addition to the club's roster on Monday afternoon, introducing Salvadoran sensation Osael Romero to fans and media in Los Angeles.

The Red-and-White signed the 23-year-old attacking midfielder on loan from Salvadoran side Vista Hermosa on Feb. 1.

"It's a great day for the club," said Chivas USA president and CEO Shawn Hunter. "Today we're able to introduce a young man who's going to make us a lot better on the field as well as get the community excited."

Romero joins a Chivas USA side that finished fourth in the Western Conference in 2009, and in so doing, qualified for its fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

"I'm happy for the opportunity," said Romero. "I'm here to play and to do well on the field. More than anything, I'm just happy to be at home here."

Romero drew attention from the Chivas USA coaching staff over the course of the last year, where he made several impressive appearances for his club and for the El Salvador national team.

"We had watched lots of video of him, playing for both his domestic team and the national side," said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. "I also did have a conversation with [former El Salvadoran national team manager] Carlos de los Cobos about Osael's character and personality. The reference that Carlos gave was of somebody who is hungry and somebody very exciting. That convinced us to bet on Osael and go after him."

Romero received his first cap on Oct. 13, 2007 in a friendly against Costa Rica. Since then, he has made 37 appearances for the Salvadoran national side, scoring eight goals in that time.

"What he brings to the team is something that we lacked last season," said Vásquez. "That's creativity, goals, and assists. Osael is an exciting young player that has proven to be consistent with those qualities and that's what we expect. He's going to really help us with that aspect of the game."

Romero made his debut with Chivas USA in the team's 3-1 victory over Mexican second division side Irapuato on Feb. 13.

"I didn't adapt immediately to the style of play," Romero said. "But I was able to speak to Martín before the game so that I could at least be in my regular position. I felt the confidence that my teammates had in me and that helped me along.

"It won't be such a difficult transition," he continued. "It's just a matter of me putting in the extra work to get myself into the rhythm of the team."

Romero will likely continue in his role as an attacking midfielder for Chivas USA. The departures of Paulo Nagamura, Jesse Marsch and Sasha Victorine in the offseason have left substantial holes in the Red-and-White midfield.

"He will be playing the same position he's been playing for his club and for his national team," Vásquez said. "Knowing that we have to improve in the attacking third, his qualities will really help us. If we can pair him up with Sacha Kljestan, that's going to be a huge plus for us."

Beyond his skills on the pitch, Romero is also a huge draw for the large Salvadoran community in the Los Angeles area.

"We've always had a good relationship with the Salvadoran community," said Hunter. "The feedback that I've always received is, 'bring us an exciting player and even more of us will come out to The Home Depot Center and support Chivas USA.'"

Romero's arrival at Chivas USA was a big enough occasion for L.A.'s Salvadoran community that even El Salvador Consul William Jarquín was on hand at the press conference to officially welcome him.

"Osael's presence here in Los Angeles will help show the younger El Salvadoran community what it means to be Salvadoran," said Jarquín. "His heart and his skill is something we can all be proud of and we're very happy to have him here."

Romero is the second high-profile Salvadoran player to arrive in the Los Angeles area. Midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos, who earned 68 caps with the El Salvador national team during his career, played for the LA Galaxy from 1998-2003, helping the club win MLS Cup 2002.

Romero hopes to emulate both Cienfuegos' success on the pitch, as well as his leadership off it.

"I watched Mauricio [Cienfuegos] growing up. He was one of my idols," said Romero. "He was a great player, and it's nice to be able to follow his example and to follow in his footsteps. Now it's up to me to do well on and off the field and to make sure I make Mauricio and my community proud."

Jeffrey King is a contributor to MLSnet.com.