The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Wednesday the signing of Venezuelan-born goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to a two-year contract, with the second year being a club option.
Restrepo (6-0, 185), an American national raised in Colombia, joins the Rowdies after recently training with D.C. United earlier this year. Prior to his return to the United States, the young goalkeeper spent his 2011 rookie season with Colombian powerhouse America de Cali, making four first-team appearances including his professional debut in August 2011. Restrepo then played his 2012 season with one of Venezuela’s most popular clubs, Deportivo Tachira, making six first-team appearances.
Although born in Venezuela, the 25-year-old lived in Colombia until he was 11 before his family moved to the United States. His outstanding high school performances at American Heritage School earned him a spot in the U.S. U-17 National Team Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. In 2005, Restrepo was a member of the U.S. U-17 squad that participated in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru.
The goalkeeper would go on to play collegiately for the University of South Florida for two years, before transferring to the University of Virginia in 2009. In his first season at Virginia, Restrepo led the Cavaliers to an NCAA Division I National Championship, being named the 2009 NCAA College Cup's Defensive Most Valuable Player. He set a school record previously held by Tony Meola with 16 shutouts, including 11 consecutive shutouts, as well as being awarded the ACC Tournament MVP in 2009.