Tomás Romero is just one of the latest signings for New York City FC, adding their fourth keeper to their rotation. Though unclear of his role on the depth chart, Romero could bring an energetic fan base while also playing close to his hometown. The MLS champion only began his professional career in 2021. He has accomplished more than just a title but also a chance to play at the international level.
Romero was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The goalkeeper was raised there by his parents of Salvadorian descent. He joined the Real Jersey club, just 30 minutes from where he grew up during his youth. By the time he was 13 years old, he joined the Philadelphia Union's Youth Academy, where his route to pro began.
Romero worked his way up to the USL after joining the Bethlehem Steel (now known as the Philadelphia Union II) in 2016. He ended up making 17 appearances with the side, making two clean sheets in that span over three campaigns.
During his time in the USL, he also began to make appearances with the El Salvadorian national team youth side after deciding to play for them over the United States. This led him to commit to Georgetown University. He started 12 matches for the team during his freshman year, making 30 saves while allowing just eight goals and holding on to three clean sheets. He also started in the 2019 College Cup final against Virginia, where he led the side to their first-ever NCAA title.
Tomás Romero's professional journey
Unfortunately, Romero was only able to play in one season of college soccer as the 2020 campaign was canceled due to COVID-19. This played in his favor as he continued to train with Bethlehem until he was signed by LAFC in 2021.
Right after signing, Romero was sent on loan to the USL team, the Las Vegas Lights, before returning midseason, where he made 18 MLS appearances while allowing 28 goals with four clean sheets. After Maxime Crépeau joined for the 2022 season, he did not see another start for the side but was eligible for an MLS Cup Finals medal after being the third-string keeper that year. This prompted a move to Toronto FC in 2023, making only six starts while completing 23 saves.
Romero also made his senior debut with the El Salvadorian national team in 2021, having made one start during the 2023 Gold Cup. Now that he has signed with NYCFC, he will see one of his toughest challenges yet of competing along with three other goalkeepers for playing time. It appears Matt Freese is set for the number one spot, which leaves the second spot up for grabs.
Luis Barraza wants to win his spot back after he was demoted to the bench in the middle of last season, while new signing Alex Rando also looks to make a crack at the spot. If Romero's cards are played right, then he could win the second slot due to his experience already playing in the league and internationally.
One thing that Romero could bring to the team is an exciting fan base. The population of Salvadorians living in the New York City/Long Island area is huge. Therefore, it will likely bring more noise and more fans to an already ecstatic NYCFC fan base in 2024.