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Houston Dynamo loans Marcelo Palomino to Independence
Midfielder, 19, is youngest player on roster
Published Wednesday, March 3, 2021 7:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

The Houston Dynamo loaned midfielder Marcelo Palomino, 19, to the Charlotte Independence for the 2021 USL Championship season.

The Houston Dynamo are lending one of their youngest prospects to the Charlotte Independence.

Marcelo Palomino, a 19-year-old midfielder, will join the Jacks in USL Championship on a season-long loan from the MLS team. The Houston native is the eighth player confirmed for Charlotte’s 2021 roster, joining goalkeeper Brandon Miller, defenders Clay Dimick and Hugh Roberts and midfielders Jake Areman, Junior Etou, Enzo Martinez and Valentin Sabella, who is on loan in Mexico with Cancun FC in Liga de Expansion MX.

“I’m thankful to the Charlotte Independence staff and the entire club for the opportunity,” Palomino said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get started and earn meaningful minutes this season. I’ve heard great things about the Queen City and I look forward to being there soon. I know that everyone wants to accomplish big goals with the club this season and I'm excited to do my part on the field.”

Palomino signed a homegrown player with Houston in January 2020 and made his professional debut against Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 14, one of three appearances as a rookie. He joined the Houston academy at age 11, earning Dynamo Academy Player of the Year three times between 2014-18. Current Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos selected Palomino for the under-18 U.S. Men’s National Team in 2018, which won the International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek. Palomino regularly earned youth national team call-ups to the U-15-19 sides. He also spent two seasons with Brazos Valley Cavalry—Houston’s USL League Two affiliate.

“Marcelo is a really talented up and coming player,” Independence head coach and general manager Mike Jeffries said.

Jeffries and Houston general manager and technical director Matt Jordan stayed in contact since their days in Dallas together. The goal is for Palomino to get minutes, like many MLS-to-USL Championship loan situations. Palomino seemed a good fit for Charlotte’s possession oriented style of play. The club has also had a number of young loanees over the years, including Nashville midfielder Luke Haakenson last season.

“Marcelo is a guy who they are hoping can be one of the key components of their group—not this year, but down the road,” Jeffries said. “They wanted him in a situation where he would have the opportunity to compete, play and develop.”

Jeffries said he has “really high expectations” for Palomino, citing his technical ability. Jeffries said his conversations with Ramos included that Palomino came on late as a rookie but was able to contribute. Now it is time for him to develop.

Palomino can play in both the center of the pitch and the wing. He has been utilized in just about every midfielder role with the exception of holding midfield.

“He has played the seven, eight, 10, 11—in any of those areas he has played, and he is capable of doing it,” Jeffries said. “He has a good soccer brain, moves very well and is very technical.”

Charlotte’s preseason training begins March 22 at Sportsplex at Matthews, and matches will be played at Memorial Stadium. The Independence, who will play in the eight-team Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, face division opponents four times in addition to regional or cross-conference opponents for another four games. The 32-game regular season will take place over 27 weeks.



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