Forward Jorge Gonzalez will return to Louisville City FC in 2022, this time on a newly signed contract with the club, it was announced Monday.
The former loanee from Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers netted four goals last season for the boys in purple, including a game winner against Miami FC in the opening round of the USL Championship Playoffs.
Gonzalez later became a free agent, making him available to LouCity on a permanent deal. Terms of the contract, which is pending league and federation approval, were not disclosed.
“It's an honor to come back and play another season for Louisville City,” Gonzalez said. “I love this club, my teammates and every staff member. I can't wait to get back to work and have another great year."
Gonzalez, 23, overcame a preseason groin injury to make 21 appearances for LouCity. By the end of the campaign the No. 9 had cemented a spot in coach Danny Cruz’s regular starting lineup, starring during a stretch of games in which the boys in purple clinched a Central Division title, No. 1 playoff seed and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.
"We are thrilled to be able to welcome Jorge back to Louisville City," said head coach Danny Cruz. "Signing him was a priority for us once the season ended. He is a talented young player who has a very bright future ahead of him. We are looking forward to getting a healthy Jorge going into 2022 and know that he will play an important role as we look to compete for another trophy."
A native of Valencia, Spain, Gonzalez went as the 76th overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft to Los Angeles FC before signing with the Timbers. He debuted professionally for Portland’s reserve side, Timbers 2, and in an abbreviated 2020 season registered 8 goals in 10 appearances.
Gonzalez had initially made his move to the United States in 2016 to play collegiately at NCAA Division II’s Mercyhurst University in Erie, Penn. Following his freshman year, the forward transferred to Division I SIU Edwardsville, where he was coached by future LouCity Academy Director Mario Sanchez and was named the 2019 Mid-American Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.
In addition to his playoff goal, Gonzalez found the back of the net for the first time July 28, scoring a game winner within seconds of coming on as a halftime sub in LouCity’s 2-1 win at Sporting KC II. He opened scoring again when SKC II visited on Aug. 7 before his third and final regular season goal registered in a Sept. 7 victory over Hartford Athletic on ESPN2.
Gonzalez’s signing brings LouCity’s 2022 roster to 18 players. The list includes 16 returners and two additions in goalkeeper Kyle Morton (from MLS’ Houston Dynamo) and defender Owen Damm (from LouCity's youth academy). Contract negotiations continue with other newcomers; updates will follow in due time.
Current 2022 Louisville City FC Roster
Forwards: Jorge Gonzalez, Cameron Lancaster, Brian Ownby
Midfielders: Corben Bone, Tyler Gibson, Jay Tee Kamara, Napo Matsoso, Niall McCabe, Carlos Moguel Jr., Paolo DelPiccolo, Elijah Wynder
Defenders: Wes Charpie, Owen Damm, Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Josh Wynder
Goalkeepers: Kyle Morton, Parker Siegfried