Phoenix Rising FC has announced the addition of Jose Aguinaga to its squad for its 2019 USL campaign.
He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. And when he wasn't, he made his own right place and right time.— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) December 19, 2018
Welcome Jose Aguinaga to the Rising family! #UpRising pic.twitter.com/kBjYfk65KN
Aguinaga played in USL for New York Red Bulls II in 2018, following a successful summer season with the RBNY U-23s in PDL 2017. For the II team, he made 24 appearances, tallying six goals and six assists. The Red Bulls released Aguinaga at the end of the 2018 USL season.
He followed the path established by Florian Valot to RBNY: a youth career with pro clubs in Europe (PSG and Monaco in Valot’s case; Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid, and Getafe for Aguinaga) preceding a move to Rider University, where he attracted the attention of RBNY. Unlike Valot, the Red Bulls clearly determined Aguinaga was not likely to break into the first team, and the club typically does not keep players on the II-team roster who are not in some sense actively auditioning for first-team places.
Aguinaga joins a couple of RBNY-acquainted players already on the Phoenix roster for 2019. Defender Joe Farrell never played professionally for the Red Bulls, but was part of the RBNY U-23 team that won the 2014 NPSL Championship. Junior Flemmings played the 2016 and 2017 USL seasons with NYRB II, before moving on to Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2018. He and Aguinaga will give Phoenix’s attack a Red Bull flavor in 2019.
The Red Bulls are expected to pre-season in Arizona this winter, as has become the club’s tradition over the past couple of years. Perhaps they will see Aguinaga, Flemmings, and Farrell on the other side of a friendly game in a few weeks.