American Exports: Ex-Galaxy youth signs in Guatemala

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Another American-born youngster has looked south for opportunities, as former LA Galaxy and US Under-20 pool player Jeffrey Payeras signed with Guatemalan giants Municipal this week.

The 19-year-old defender was on trial earlier this month at the Central American club and has since won over coach Ramón Maradiaga.

“It’s a challenge being at Municipal,” Payeras told the Municipal website, adding that, “With work and dedication,” he hopes to succeed south of the border.

Payeras made his Reserve League debut for Galaxy in July 2011 and traveled to Spain with the U-18 side in April 2012. At the international level, he was called into Tab Ramos’ U-20 camp last April in Portland, Ore.

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When he arrived at Galaxy, Payeras was predominantly a central midfielder, but perhaps because of his 6-foot-3 stature he was moved to central defense.

“I like the position because you have all the game in front of you,” Payeras told the Municipal website.

The son of Guatemalan immigrants to the US, Payeras isn't expected to debut when Municipal travel to Halcones for their first game of Liga Nacional season this Saturday, with the paperwork to register him with the league unlikely to be finalized in time.

However, the signs look positive in terms of first-team appearances, with the tall teenager featuring in all three of Municipal’s preseason friendlies to date.

Across the border in El Salvador, former Chivas USA academy striker Nicolas Escalante is trialing at first-division club Santa Tecla, where fellow Californian Derby Carrillo is the goalkeeper.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.