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RSL promises 16-year-old Gil comfortable transition
February 23rd, 2010 7:15PM

TAGS:  mls, real salt lake, youth boys


[MLS] Real Salt Lake traded an international slot, a 2011 second-round draft pick, and 25 percent of any future transfer fee to Kansas City for the rights to 16-year-old midfielder Luis Gil, who starred for the USA at the U-17 World Cup last November and went to the Wizards in a weighted lottery Monday after signing a Generation adidas contract.

General Manager Garth Lagerwey insists Gil won’t feel the pressure heaped upon previous acquisitions, such as Nik Besagno, and the phenom that was Freddy Adu. Last year, it loaned young midfielder Alex Nimo to the USL's Portland to ease his transition to the professional game after making him the No. 17 overall pick in 2008.

“We had talked to Luis and his representatives, but everybody knew this kid was talented,” said Lagerwey. “He’d expressed an interest to come to a West Coast team and how we got him was just a stroke of good fortune. Our bid for him had value attached that was significant, but look, he’s 16. He’s a very talented player, but at that age nothing is a given. I don’t think there are any can’t-miss players at 16.

“By far the most important thing is to make him comfortable as a person. The first steps are to get him a driver’s license and find a family for him to live with and help him with his personal maturation. The soccer comes after that. We have no expectations about him helping us right now. We want to develop his skill set so he can help us down the road.”

Gil, whose hometown in Garden Grove, Calif., will head to Salt Lake City next week to meet the team when it returns from preseason training in Casa Grande, Ariz. He’s really not that close to the Pacific Coast, but he’s on the western side of the country. “It’s only one time zone,” says Lagerwey. “His family will be able to fly to see him pretty easily.

“We picked Alex after he played for the U-17 World Cup team [in 2007], so we have some experience in what works and what doesn’t, what to worry about and what to look for. We have to make sure we give him a good environment to develop in and won’t put any expectations on him.”

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