Tacoma Defiance’s 2021 leader in assists and chance creation will wear purple this season with Louisville City FC signing forward Ray Serrano, the club announced Wednesday.
Serrano, whose deal is pending league and federation approval, arrives to Louisville off the best season of his young professional career. The 19-year-old winger numbered 4 goals and 6 assists for the Defiance, which is managed by Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and competed last year in the USL Championship.
“Ray is a bright young player that we have been tracking for the last year,” said LouCity head coach Danny Cruz. “He is a dynamic player that brings us another piece of quality in the final third for 2022.
“You can tell from both film and our discussions that tell he is a hungry young player going to leave everything he has on the field. We feel that in this environment there is no doubt that he will be put in a position to continue his development and ultimately grow both as a player and person.”
From Moses Lake, Wash., Serrano became the Sounders’ youngest academy player to ever ink a professional deal when signing as a 15-year-old back in February of 2018. He made his pro debut the next month for Sounders 2 — now known as Tacoma Defiance — and went on to accumulate 53 appearances across four seasons.
Serrano accumulated a number of career highs in 2021, among them his team-best 38 chances created across 1,834 minutes in a variety of attacking roles.
“Having seen all the championships in Louisville and games they continue to win, it brought a lot of attention to me,” he said. “I want to be around a winning environment and a competitive one as well. That’s how you develop as a player.”
A youth international, Serrano received a number of invitations to U.S. Soccer Boys National Team Futures camps and call ups and U-17s, receiving 13 caps at that level. Also representing the Sounders in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, he helped the club win a Generation adidas Cup Champions Division title — a first for a Major League Soccer outfit — in 2019.
Those experiences, and regular training opportunities with perennial MLS Cup contenders the Sounders in Seattle, has Serrano looking forward to acclimating to his new environment.
“The USL Championship has always been a strong league,” he said. “Staying in the USL with a big club like Louisville is the right option for me. In Seattle, I was around the first team a lot, so being here with experienced players won’t be a huge change. We always tried to compete like we were older, mature players.”
Serrano’s signing marks LouCity’s fifth roster addition this offseason. He joins goalkeeper Kyle Morton (from MLS’s Houston Dynamo); defenders Owen Damm (LouCity Academy) and Amadou Dia (Sporting Kansas City); as well as forward Enoch Mushagalusa (Sporting KC II). That group will supplement 16 returners from last year’s squad that won the USL Championship’s Central Division title and went on to the playoffs’ Eastern Conference Final.
The boys in purple reported for team activities this week, with training leading up to a March 12 season opener against Atlanta United 2 at Lynn Family Stadium.
Current 2022 Louisville City FC Roster
Forwards: Jorge Gonzalez, Cameron Lancaster, Enoch “Matiti” Mushagalusa, Brian Ownby, Ray Serrano
Midfielders: Corben Bone, Tyler Gibson, Jay Tee Kamara, Napo Matsoso, Niall McCabe, Carlos Moguel Jr., Paolo DelPiccolo, Elijah Wynder
Defenders: Wes Charpie, Owen Damm, Amadou Dia, Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Josh Wynder
Goalkeepers: Kyle Morton, Parker Siegfried