Real Salt Lake’s Diego Luna discusses U.S. Men’s National Team call up

Luna was invited to the USMNT January camp for the first time in his career.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake midfielder Diego Luna (26), celebrates after kicking the winning goal during a shoot-out, in MLS soccer action between Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, at America First Field, in Sandy, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.

Diego Luna had a breakout season for Real Salt Lake. He emerged to a starter just a few months into the 2023 season, and ended with a goal-scoring flurry that included a game-winning penalty in a shootout win over Houston in the playoffs.

Other teams are sure to show interest in Luna sooner rather than later. For what it’s worth, Luna himself said in November that he was committed to RSL, and former RSL general manager Elliot Fall said he felt confident the team would keep him.

Luna’s rise up the soccer ranks continued Friday when U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter included him in the January camp roster ahead of the friendly against Slovenia on Jan. 20 in San Antonio. The camp goes from Jan. 8-16 and will take place in Orlando.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to starting my year off with this camp,” Luna said in a news release. “I expect to start 2024 by continuing the momentum I found at both RSL and with the U-23s last year, and taking things to a whole other level for both club and country this year.”

Luna is among 25 Major League Soccer players called up to the camp. He’s been in the league since 2022 after a stint with the El Paso Locomotive, which is in the highest division of the United Soccer League.

Luna has also spent time with the U.S. youth national team program and competed in the 2023 U-20 FIFA Youth World Cup. He was invited to a camp in November for the 2024 Olympics, but was excused due to RSL’s playoff series against Houston. He is still on the path for a potential call up to the Olympic squad.

“This is an opportunity to identify and work with the next generation of players who have the potential to make an impact on our program,” Berhalter said in statement. “We appreciate the support from MLS and all their clubs so that we can utilize this platform. Our priority is on getting as many players as possible experience in important competitions, and this camp and the match against Slovenia will be extremely valuable in the evaluation process.”

Luna has scored seven total goals in 39 MLS games. This month, he’ll be looking for his first international cap and goal.