Top Stories

Benji Joya is back with Santos Laguna after MLS deals fail to materialize

BenjiJoyaChicagoFire2-SeattleSounders2014 (USATodaySports)


After a whirlwind preseason with a pair of MLS clubs, Benji Joya has returned to his old stomping grounds at Santos Laguna.

The 21-year-old midfielder is back training in Torreon with the Santos Lagune U-20s following preseason stints with the Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids, as well as a year-long loan with the Chicago Fire last season. Joya had interest from D.C. United as well as possibilities in Scandinavia, but Joya’s agent Maximiliano Roditis revealed to SBI that Santos Laguna wanted him more.

“Right now, Santos Laguna want him back in the first team,” Roditis said. “Benji is happy now with Santos Laguna. He was happy in MLS and he loved to play here. I had a couple of teams in Argentina (interested) but he wanted to stay here. But now he realized he needs to play abroad.”

Although it hasn’t officially been announced, Joya has accepted a call-up to the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s upcoming training camp in Europe from March 23-April 1, which includes friendly matches at Bosnia and Herzegovina and Denmark.

Roditis expressed surprise that more MLS teams weren’t interested in his client due to his status as a regular for the U.S. youth national team programs, but a transfer fee of around $700,000 was likely a price too high to pay by some MLS teams for an inexperienced player.

As such, Roditis scoffed at a proposed trial from D.C. United and decided that the best option was for Joya to remain with Santos, where he’s got another year and a half left on his current contract.

“He loved to stay in MLS but Santos Laguna is one of the best organizations,” Roditis explained, saying that he and Joya weren’t complaining about his situation. “He’s still young and he loved to be here (in MLS) but he needs to go and grow and develop. I would love to see him play here but sometimes stuff happens.”

It remains to be seen whether Joya will make it on the field for the Santos Laguna first team this season. Competition for places is fierce but with the team struggling recently – no wins in five Liga MX matches – there’s a chance he could work his way in.

But the odds are not in Joya’s favor. After missing a nearly two-week period to go to Europe, Santos only have six games remaining on their schedule before the summer break.


What do you think of this news? Do you see Joya returning to MLS in the future? Should he drop down a division in Mexico in the search for playing time?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What does this sentence mean? Nobody wanted to pay the 700K so the agent scoffs at a trial at DC United? Huh?

    “As such, Roditis scoffed at a proposed trial from D.C. United and decided that the best option was for Joya to remain with Santos, where he’s got anoth”

    • Easy there. I think it means that if D.C. United really wanted Joya, they wouldn’t invite him for a trial. Most of the times these trials are a waste of time, a player comes in for a week and then he’s discarded.

  2. i’m sorry but $700k for a 21 year old player is not a lot. not when word out of Chicago was he looked very good when he was with them but Yallop simply refused to play him. i understand $700k is a lot within MLS…that’s the problem. have to find a way to give teams the ability to get these guys at market value.

    • Yes. THIS!

      If I’m an MLS owner in the SW United States I buy the kid, sign him to a 4 year deal, market the hell out of him to young kids all around the region, play him then sell him to the 1st team who rewards my ROI to a team abroad. He would be approaching his prime when his contract is ending.

      If he can be bought for 700K, and paid around 100K for three years + 1 option, wouldn’t even a 1 million dollar transfer be worth it?

      • by your math, that would not be worth it. clubs want to profit, not break even. 700k + (100k X 3yrs) = 1 mil. selling for a mil then would net zero….. i get your point but your numbers don’t support your point. kit sales would become the only real profit

    • Except he actually did play and was moderately productive to be polite. Whether the way he was used affected his effectiveness might be an interesting question I might buy (having had my own confidence crises when benched) but objectively suitors looking at him are going to be like interesting US pedigree but in club what’s he done? And they’re hiring for club.

    • He looked … okay when he was with the Fire. Not $700K transfer fee good, that’s for sure.

      One could market an okay player through the moon if that’s the goal.

  3. I doubt any teams in Argentina wanted him. Maybe they asked him to come on trial but pretty sure no one would make offers. A lot of BS here from his agent.

      • The question is, what are YOU talking about?

        That link to Fox Deportes is a rehash of an SBI article that, again, only references quotes by his agent.

        700K for a player of Joya’s “quality” is not something Argentine clubs would spend when they could simply look to their youth teams.

      • that is very true. pretty much all the articles are based on quotes from his agent who was, in fact, in Argentina. i guess my point here is that saying it’s “BS” just because you don’t believe it is not valid, IMO. most than anything, it just annoys me and i feel compelled to reply.

        we have no idea what the potential deals could have been. loan w/ option to buy? only a loan? full transfer but not for $700k? there just isn’t enough info for anyone to be saying “BS”.

      • Joya does not offer anything that they already can find in Argentina. Look at the last Mexican who tried to play there, e.g., Luis Hernandez. He was so good and over-hyped that he didn’t even play in any Argentine league matches. He just played n Copa Libertadores matches for Boca.

        Again, what has Joya done in MLS that would prompt Argentine clubs to make a beeline for his signature? What does he have to lose by going there but didn’t and returned to Mexico? Thats why I think its BS since he is young and had nothing to lose by going on trial there but didn’t.

      • If “Argentina” was as real as the agent suggests, he’d be there instead. I’d assume Joya would be an interesting prospect on a free transfer or cheap but after a modest MLS effort Santos and he were pushing their luck at $700k. At that point I assume the clubs down way south lost interest like MLS did.

    • I wish I had a super secret phone to all personnel managers in the Argentine league so I could get the inside scoop on player decisions. Must be nice.

    • The agent is Argentine, so I would bet he’s connected with some clubs in Argentina who would have been willing to take a look at Joya. Whether they actually signed him is another thing.

  4. MLS didn’t want to spend the $700,000 to bring him in because it would not increase ticket sales. They will only spend that type of money on washed up players with name recognition.

    MLS owners only care about maximizing their return on investment. They don’t care about the quality of the product on the field.

    • He might have been worth it coming off the U20 tournaments but once he has a lukewarm pro career started I think he grades back down. He now has a track record and it’s not great.

    • while that is true Joya was way over valued! I do believe that he has a great potential and at 21 would be a great investment but he isn’t above an average MLS CM atm and there are plenty of them available for less than 700,000. I would have loved to see him end up on Colorado or (not mentioned to be interested) his hometown Quakes.

    • MLS owners SHOULD care first and foremost about their return on investment. There teams are a business and they have a duty to their investors.

      It is funny how people always knowck other people for trying to make a profit, but I bet these people try to also maximize their returns when/if they have an investment.

      • Now to be fair, if Joya was as good as advertised but a “no-name,” my experience with Houston is fans will attend a winner as well as a big name, and if a young no-name helps you win, it might be as useful to the bottom line as Kaka or whatever.

        There are a few younger players who weren’t “names” like Montero who have come in here and been impactful.

      • Agree with Rick. Commenters are very free about spending other people’s money but I bet they’re not so generous with their own. Jordie’s original statement is false anyway. The 2 are in no way mutually exclusive. An improved product on the field means more fans and more profit for the owners.

    • You mean like Bryan Rochez, Carlos Rivas, Octavio Rivero, Erick Torres, David Accam, Fabián Castillo, Fernando Aristeguieta, and Juan Edgardo Ramírez, all under 24 and signed DP contracts just this year.

      • $700k is a lot for a player with 12 appearances and one goal. You notice MLS wasn’t the only one looking and no one else snapped him up either. Santos got greedy and so they are “now happy he’s back with the first team.”

Leave a Comment