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Orlando City make El Salvador captain Ceren third MLS player signing

Darwin Ceren

Photo by Howard C. Smith/


Slowly but surely, Orlando City is building their MLS roster.

The club continued to shape its squad ahead of its inaugural MLS season by signing El Salvador national team captain Darwin Ceren on a two-year contract. Ceren, a 24-year-old defensive midfielder, will join the Lions for their final season in USL Pro this year before making the jump with the club to MLS in 2015.

“We’re extremely delighted that Darwin is joining us as our third MLS signing,” said Orlando City president Phil Rawlins. “We fought very hard to get him here, as several other MLS clubs were also interested. We believe that he is a great prospect for the future and a special thanks to his agent, Gonzalo Clavijo, for being so helpful in getting this deal finalized.”

The 5-foot-7, 165-pound Ceren has been capped by El Salvador 16 times since 2012 and most recently played for Juventud Independiente, a club in the nation’s first division. Ceren started his career with Juventud back in 2009 and wound up scoring 15 goals in 83 appearances.

“I’ve traveled a lot throughout the past few years and even though I’ve never been to El Salvador, it was definitely worth the journey,” said Orlando City coach Adrian Heath, who watched Ceren play during a trip to El Salvador this past December. “Darwin is at the right age, he’s the captain of his country and an all-around great kid, so I’m very pleased that we were finally able to get this deal finalized.”

Ceren joins Yordany Alvarez and Kevin Molino as Orlando’s first MLS signings.


What do you think of Orlando City signing Ceren? Surprised no current MLS team landed him? Think he is going to have a monstrous season in USL Pro this year?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. So when a USL pro team is adopted into the MLS, do they retain any of their original players?
    Or do they start from scratch, leaving the original players looking for another team.
    Cold in the ATX.

    • In most cases they retain the rights to their original players (contracts), but have the expantion draft to upgrade their player pool with more experienced players and/or players with a higher ability level.
      Most expantion teams that are derived from a lower level team have a transition where they phase the bulk of their original players out over 2 years or so.
      1st year in MLS 50% retention of their original team roster
      2nd year in MLS 25% of their original team
      3rd year in MLS 10-15% of their original team

  2. I have to say I like how OC is operating and building a team. They seem focused on a quality foundation, good scouting and value. And they have a real live fan base to build on.

  3. Great move for Orlando. I’m surprise a guy from the El Sav team would play for a lower division for one year. But I guess it doesn’t matter cause its a WC year and his team is out.

    • People will do a lot of things they didn’t think they’d do until a large pile of cash is on the table. Just ask Michael Bradley or Clint Dempsey…

  4. Interesting signing. Been a while since ES players have done big things in MLS. Would love to see another Cienfuegos or Raul Diaz Arce in the league. Great old school MLS players from ES


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