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Luis Gil: Welcome to Arsenal

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Goal of the Week 21: Luis Gil

Luis Gil

  • DOB November 14, 1993
  • Age 20
  • Place of birth Garden Grove, California
  • POSITION Midfielder
  • HEIGHT 5'8"
  • WEIGHT 155
  • U.S. CAPS 1
  • CLUB Real Salt Lake
  • TWITTER @luisitogil21 (7.61K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 28
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 27
  • Youth Experience U-17, U-18, U-20, U-23
  • ASN QUESTIONNAIRE Read now

The future is bright for Luis Gil—few would dispute that—but from a national team perspective, when does this talented teenager’s present begin?

On the club level, Gil, 20, is already becoming a force. The midfielder starts more often than not for Real Salt Lake, one of the most competitive teams in MLS. And with more than 50 appearances to his name and a reputation for having great vision and a simple-but-effective approach to the game, Gil is commanding respect across the league.

When he was just 12, Gil, a Southern California native, trained with the U-15 team at River Plate in Argentina. At 14, he moved to Bradenton and was the youngest—and possibly the best—player at the U-17 residency program. He would go on to perform well at the 2009 U-17 World Cup in Nigeria and was named U.S. Soccer’s 2009 Young Male Athlete of the Year.

Arsenal wanted to sign Gil. Manchester City and Real Madrid expressed interest. And yet Gil opted to stay in the U.S. and ply his trade in MLS. He is making steady progress (and a healthy salary), but is the onetime prodigy developing as fast as he should? Debatable.

"I think he has exceeded my expectations for sure about where he would be in his third year as a pro in MLS and with Real Salt Lake," Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis told MLSsoccer.com. But now is no time to rest on his laurels, Kreis said: "I think his development has come along very well, but I still think he has a long way to go as well.”

While Kreis is focused on beating the Colorado Rapids or the San Jose Earthquakes, Gil is dreaming of playing alongside, and against, the best players in the world. Do not be surprised if the soft-spoken Gil moves to Spain or England in the next couple years as he attempts to forge a career among the big boys.

As for his international career, Gil has already represented the Stars and Stripes at the U-17, U-18, U-20, and U-23 levels. His father is Mexican but Gil has said repeatedly that his preference is to play for the United States. Can a call-up to the full senior squad be far off?—JOHN GODFREY

Noteworthy Reads

Gil Could Be the Next Big Thing (ESPN.com)
Luis Gil Might Shine Even Brighter (Salt Lake Tribune)
AmericanSoccerNow.