Players signed on one-year loans with option to buy
By Kevin Koczwara
On Monday, Jan. 9, the New England Revolution announced the signing of two players from Colombia, John Lozano and Fernando Cárdenas. Cárdenas and Lozano signed with the Revs from América de Cali, which competed in Colombia’s Apertura league until it was relegated at the end of the season after losing in a playoff in penalty kicks.
Mike Burns, Revolution General Manager, and Jay Heaps, Revolution coach, spotted Cárdenas and Lozano while on a trip to Colombia in November. They were impressed with what they saw during the weekend trip and worked to secure the players.
“Jay Heaps and I made a trip down to Colombia at the end of November, the beginning of December,” Burns said over the phone. “They were in the midst of their playoffs and we saw three games live during our weekend stay and those were two players we identified and we worked with an agent in Colombia and were able to get deals done to secure them to come and play for the Revs.”
Burns went back to Colombia before the MLS SuperDraft and worked out a deal to get the players signed. According to Burns, Lozano and Cárdenas have signed loan agreements with Major League Soccer for the 2012 season with an option to buy at the end of the loan agreement.
The signings of Cardenas and Lozano helped the Revolution solidify its roster, which was full of wholes. The team needed another center back to pair with A.J. Soares and Darrius Barnes, as well as attacking players, specifically forwards, which the team is still working to address, and Cárdenas gave them a versatile attacking player.
“When Jay and I went down there we went with open eyes because we feel like we have a lot of needs that we need to address. Center back was one of them and an attack player was another one. From what we saw we felt like they played well and we feel like they will be good additions to our team,” said Burns. “They were two guys that stood out when we went and saw them play and pursued discussions with them.”
Lozano, 27, is a center back who started his career in 2003 at Colombian side Deportivo Pereira and played there for seven years (68 appearances with the first team) before transferring to América de Cali in 2010. He also had a short trial at Argentine giants Boca Juniors in Jan. 201 — he returned to América de Cali per Lozano’s request.
Cárdenas, 23, is a left-sided attacking player who can play out on the wing or as a forward. He also broke through at Deportivo Pereira, but in 2008. He was loaned out a few times in 2010 and then made his move to América de Cali in the summer of 2011.
Cárdenasand Lozano were players that caught Heaps and Burns’ eye while they were in Colombia scouting. According to Burns, the players weren’t the only players the Revolution tried to sign, either.
“We had discussions with some other players as well that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons,” said Burns. “But we were pleased we were able to sign these guys.”
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at email@example.com.