Nico Samayoa training 2018

Rookie center back Nico Samayoa loaned to USL side Las Vegas Lights FC

SAN JOSE, Calif. – One week after making his professional debut in the U.S. Open Cup, rookie defender Nico Samayoa is likely on his way to more significant first-team minutes as the fourth-round SuperDraft pick has joined USL side Las Vegas Lights FC on loan from the New England Revolution.

Samayoa, who earned a spot on the Revolution roster with an impressive preseason, played 36 minutes in last Tuesday night’s Open Cup loss to Louisville City FC. Now he’ll be seeing more USL competition as Lights FC will play nine games in a busy stretch between June 13 and July 26.

“We like that he will be the first professional to play in Las Vegas who is from Guatemala,” Lights FC Technical Director Chelís said in a statement. “His characteristics, I think they really fit on this team. He’s a center back who steps out, is always defending to the front, and can also play with the ball. He’s vertical with his passing and dribbling and can also attack.

“He’s an uncommon center back, which is the kind of center back we like. When he has the ball, he’s thinking ‘attack,’ not just passing.”

New England will be hoping that Samayoa’s experience in Vegas will be similar to that of fellow rookie Mark Segbers in Orange County. Segbers showed steady progress while playing consistent minutes on loan with OCSC before returning to the Revs for last week’s Open Cup match, in which he played the full 90 minutes and scored the opening goal.

Samayoa’s teammates in Vegas will include former Revolution midfielder Daigo Kobayashi and onetime wunderkind Freddy Adu.