Luis Gil signs with Liga MX side Queretaro

The first player to leave MLS for a free agent deal abroad this winter is Luis Gil, who has signed with Liga MX side Queretaro.

For the second straight year, a young Real Salt Lake player is leaving the club for the opportunity to play in Mexico — only this time the player is an American.

One year after Mexican national team defender Carlos Salcedo left RSL for Chivas Guadalajara via transfer, midfielder Luis Gil has made the move south as well. As Goal USA first reported, Gil has joined Queretaro via free transfer.

The U.S. Under-23 national team midfielder saw his contract with Salt Lake come to a conclusion at the end of the 2015 season, ending a six-year run with the club that saw Gil never quite live up to the expectations placed upon him as a highly skilled youth national team standout.

Signed as a 16-year-old who had drawn interest from top European clubs, Gil was a regular contributor for RSL from 2011 to 2015, though a true breakout season eluded him throughout that time. In 2015, Gil managed just one goal and one assist in 24 appearances. He leaves RSL having produced 11 goals and 9 assists in 134 league appearances.

The 22-year-old will be hoping a change of scenery works wonders for him the way it did for Salcedo, who left RSL as a backup central defender before joining Chivas and blossoming into a Liga MX standout and earning a place on the Mexican national team radar.

Gil's transfer appeal has been kept up by his impressive showings on the youth national team front, most recently with his contributions to the U.S. U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying in October.

He joins the same Queretaro side that signed former MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo from Vancouver in 2014, and also boasts former U.S. national team defender Jonathan Bornstein on its roster.