Junior Pineda was named to El Salvador’s U20 teams for the upcoming CONCACAF Championship, which also doubles as FIFA U20 World Cup qualifying. They will open with the hosts Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon.
Pineda first came to El Salvador’s attention during a tryout held in Atlanta last year. National team manager Eduardo Lara invited him to join the team’s training camp in San Salvador and Pineda survived the roster cuts to make the final squad for the tournament.
In Atlanta, Pineda played with Alianza Soccer Club, Atlanta Eagles, and Georgia United. He scored five goals on last year’s Georgia United U18 squad that made a deep run in the USSF Development Academy playoffs. His former coach at Georgia United, Dave Smith, told SDH:
“I had the pleasure of coaching Junior for two years (U16 and U18) at Georgia United, he was on the same team with Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin. He is a very dynamic and dangerous attacking player who can impact the game at any level. Over those two years, through his hard work, he developed into a very focused player that was always looking for ways to add new things to his game. Junior Pineda has the ability to achieve his dream of being a professional player.”
Roberto Sibaja, the Director of Coaching for the United Futbol Academy’s Norcross branch, added:
“Junior played for Alianza many years ago. He moved to Eagles and consequently to Norcross Soccer Academy as the Eagles were part of us. He played for Eagles but also for the Norcross RPL team (98-99’s) for me. He played that way for 2 full years. After that, he played for Georgia United under Dave. Needless to say that he made a tremendous positive impact on each team that he played for. Besides his soccer quality, he is an extremely good individual.”
Atlanta will be well represented by Pineda at the CONCACAF U20’s. His schedule with El Salvador is as follows:
Sunday, February 19 vs. Costa Rica at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 22 vs. Bermuda at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 25 vs. Trinidad and Tobago at 3:30 p.m.