D.C. United have signed Venezuelan goalkeeper Rafael Romo from Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OH Leuven) in the Belgian first division on a one-and-a-half-year contract through 2023 with an option in 2024. Romo will join the Black-and-Red pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
“Rafael is an experienced goalkeeper that will help solidify our depth at the goalkeeper position,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United President of Soccer Operations, said. “We look forward to integrating him with the group in the coming week.”
Romo joins the Black-and-Red after spending the previous two seasons with OH Leuven in Belgium after joining from Silkeborg IF in Denmark on Aug. 1, 2020. The 32-year-old made his debut with the side against KV Ooestende in league play on Sept. 19, 2020. Since making his debut, the goalkeeper has recorded seven clean sheets in 48 appearances for the side. His most recent appearance was on April 10, 2022 against KAA Gent in league play.
“We’ve been monitoring Rafael for a good period of time and we’re happy to bring in a player with as much professional experience as his,” Lucy Rushton, D.C. United General Manager, said. “We believe he will be a great addition to our current group of goalkeepers, providing additional healthy competition to the group. We want to welcome him to the District and look forward to having him at the club.”
In a 15-year career, Romo has made 223 professional appearances at various clubs and has recorded 61 clean sheets in 19,829 minutes played. The goalkeeper has also made 13 appearances for the Venezuela National Team with his debut coming in the 4-1 win against Syria in an International Friendly on Aug. 20, 2008. He has appeared twice in World Cup Qualifiers with his most recent appearance coming in the 1-0 loss to Ecuador on Nov. 11, 2021.
Romo started his professional career when he signed with Llaneros de Guanare EF in Venezuela in 2008. After recording four shutouts in 15 matches, Romo signed with the Udinese academy side in the Italian first division (Serie A). During his time in the academy, Romo went on various loans to clubs including Estudiantes (Venezuela), Mineros (Venezuela), and Watford (England) before being signed by AEL Limassol in the Cyprus first division on July 8, 2016. After recording 15 clean sheets in 34 appearances in the 2016/17 season, Romo was signed by APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus on July 1, 2017. He immediately was loaned to Beerschot V.A. in the Belgian first division on July 5, 2017, with Romo recording 15 clean sheets in 42 total appearances with the club before returning to APOEL Nicosia at the conclusion of his loan on June 30, 2018. Romo played 13 games for Nicosia in the 2018/19 season and recorded six shutouts before signing with Silkeborg IF in Denmark on Sept. 1, 2019. He played one season in Denmark, recording four clean sheets in 39 games before signing with his previous club, OH Leuven, on Aug. 1, 2020.
Player: Rafael Romo
Birthplace: Turén, Venezuela
Weight: 187 lbs
Previous Club: OH Leuven (Belgium)
Transaction: D.C. United signed goalkeeper Rafael Romo on a one-and-a-half-year contract through 2023 with an option in 2024.