San Antonio FC midfielder and reigning USL Championship Young Player of the Year Cristian Parano will return in 2020 after the club exercised his contract option, the team announced today. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are excited to bring back USL Young Player of the Year Cristian Parano,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “He embodies the high-character and high-performing individuals we seek, and he is fully committed to our culture, club and community. Cristian is one of the most exciting players in the league, and we look forward to seeing him progress in year two."
Parano scored seven goals and recorded six assists, adding 53 chances created while playing 2,166 minutes across 32 appearances for the club last season. The Argentinian led the USL Championship with 109 successful dribbles and ranked fifth among SAFC players who made at least 700 passes in 2019 with an 84.1 percent passing accuracy. Parano was named the league’s Young Player of the Year following the season after receiving 29 percent of the vote, while joining Diego Restrepo and Sebastien Ibeagha as the only SAFC players to receive USL Awards.
“I’m thrilled to come back to San Antonio,” said Parano. “We have high expectations for ourselves to accomplish big things as a club, and I’m excited to keep improving and working hard day to day while enjoying the beautiful game. I’m thankful to God for this new opportunity.”
In 2019, Parano also became the first SAFC player in franchise history to be featured on the USL 20 Under 20 list, ranking No. 2 in the 2019 edition of the list while finishing as the highest-ranked player from the USL Championship. Parano’s performances earned him USL Championship Player of the Week honors on Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, adding to his USL Team of the Week honors on Sept. 17. The Argentina native also scored two braces on the season, once on Aug. 10 at Reno 1868 FC before adding his second on Aug. 24 vs. New Mexico United en route to the team’s biggest win in club history.
The 20-year-old originally joined SAFC after a successful trial prior to the start of the 2019 USL Championship season following stints in the River Plate youth setup from 2014-17 and San Martin de San Juan during the 2017-18 campaign.
San Antonio FC is currently preparing for the upcoming USL Championship season, and fans can purchase 2020 season tickets by calling or texting the SAFC sales office at 210-444-5657 or by visiting SanAntonioFC.com. Supporters can also follow the club by liking San Antonio FC on Facebook (@SAFCUSL), as well as following the team on Twitter (@SanAntonioFC) and Instagram (@sanantoniofc).