BARRIO – TFC goalkeeper Tomas Romero is 22yrs old and has already been through a lot.
The New Jersey native joined the Philadelphia Union’s residency program in the eighth grade. At 15, he made the game-day roster with the Bethlehem Steel and had his first start for the Union affiliate at 16.
“It’s been a journey since then,” said Romero. “But I’m grateful for all the opportunities coaches have given me since.”
At 18, he helped Georgetown University win the NCAA title, alongside former Toronto FC forwards Ifunanyachi Achara and Paul Rothrock.
At 20, Romero made his MLS debut for Los Angeles FC — a 1-0 win over FC Dallas — the first of 18 starts in 2021.
Now with Toronto, Romero is looking to make his mark with a club that is still finalizing its options in goal with the off-season departures of Alex Bono (now with D.C. United) and Quentin Westberg (Atlanta United).
Romero was in goal for Georgetown in the December 2019 NCAA championship game, which went to a penalty shootout after ending knotted at 3-3 after extra time. Romero made the only save in the shootout, stopping Axel Gunnarsson in a 7-6 win before being swallowed up by his jubilant Hoya teammates.
“It’s definitely a great memory and it really jumpstarted me, I’d say” Romero said of the championship game.
“It wasn’t the best game from a goalkeeping perspective,” he said with a laugh. “I’d liked to have had a clean sheet, maybe save more PKs. But at the end of the day, it was an amazing game for everyone to watch. And it was a happy moment because my family was there.”
In November, LAFC declined Romero’s 2023 contract option. Two days later Toronto selected Romero in the first stage of the MLS re-entry draft.
The move to Toronto was welcome, not just because of his connections with team management but also because it is closer to his family home in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Romero plays internationally for El Salvador, where his father was born. He has played four times at the senior level for El Salvador, most recently starting behind former TFC defender Eriq Zavaleta in a 4-1 loss to Peru in September.
He has been recently called up for National duty again for matches against Honduras and USA.
We wish him the best. Vamos Tomas!