2013 Player Profiles: Luis Gil excels in first regular starting role

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2013 was a big year for Luis Gil. He entered the year with a lot to prove and ended the year showing glimpses of how great a player he might one day become.

There was a lot of pressure placed on Gil at the start of the 2013 season. Will Johnson was traded in the offseason which left a huge hole to be filled on one side of the diamond for RSL. Gil was the player that the coaches had penciled in to fill that spot. He did an admirable job in doing just that.

Gil ended the season with 5 goals and 3 assists on the year. By doing so he either equaled or surpassed Johnson's totals from the previous season. He ended up starting 24 of the 30 matches he appeared in and played in a career high 2060 minutes. He also set a career high in shots and shots on goal.

Gil missed three games in the middle of the season to captain the US U-20 World Cup team. Many people said that he was by far the best player on the team. He also scored an amazing goal against Spain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gLstvgxSj9Y#t=119), but the team was unable to advance out of the group stage round of the tournament.

After returning to RSL, Gil went on to play in every remaining match in the regular season as well as the playoffs. The year ended with news that Gil had been called up to the US Men's National Team camp in January.

2014 will be a pivotal one for Gil. It starts on Feb 1st as the US takes on South Korea in a friendly match. Gil, who has survived the first cut of camp, has a shot at receiving his first cap with the senior team. Even if he does not get into the match, the opportunities and experiences that he has had in camp will only help him in the future.

This will also be an important season for his development with RSL. One thing that he needs to improve on is his consistency. It seemed like there would be matches that he would play really well and then other matches where he was not as noticeable on the field. If he can find a level of greater consistency, this season he will become one of the brightest future stars in the league.

The biggest question for the future of Luis Gil is just how long he will be in an RSL kit. He is currently only 20 years old. It is only a matter of time before a team from Europe comes knocking on RSL's door.

RSL Soapbox writers say:

Matt Montgomery: Luis has a very strong trajectory, but it hasn't always been readily apparent to those looking in from the outside. His restricted minutes in his first two seasons paved the way for a remarkably reliable 2013 — in a few years, this kid has gone from a sometimes-spark to one of our top midfielders. It's really remarkable.

Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles recapping the 2013 season and previewing the 2014 season. Player ratings were compiled via a vote by RSL Soapbox writers. Statistics are via mlssoccer.com.

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