FA Panel clears Roger Espinoza to join Wigan Athletic in January
The club is delighted to announce that following a decision by an FA Panel this morning, Honduras International midfielder Roger Espinoza has been granted permission to work in the UK, and will become a Wigan Athletic player when his contract with MLS club Sporting Kansas City expires at the end of December.
He should be eligible for the FA Cup tie against Bournemouth, subject to receiving international clearance. He will become the 4th Honduras player to appear in Latics colours, following Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas.
A delegation from the club, including Manager Roberto Martinez, Football Secretary Stuart Hayton and club lawyers travelled to London to attend the hearing, after which the 26 year-old was given the green light to travel to Wigan and sign for the club.
Roberto Martinez was understandably thrilled with the news: “We prepared an excellent case for Roger and it is great news for us that he can now join up in January.
“He is a player we have been following closely since 16th of June 2010, when he made his debut in the World Cup versus Chile.
“In that game, he showed tremendous potential and slowly, he has been developing into an exciting footballer over the last three seasons in the MLS and has enjoyed terrific experiences at international level, specifically his role with Honduras in the Olympic games.
“The games versus Spain and Brazil in that tournament showed the winning and strong mentality that he possesses which will be an important asset to our squad.”
Espinoza, who is a close friend and international room-mate of Maynor Figueroa, said: “This has been a dream for me to play in England and I am so grateful for the club who have worked so hard to make this happen. I just can’t wait now to join up with Maynor and all the guys and get to work.”
Espinoza was born in Honduras but moved to Kansas at the age of 12. He spent his youth football career playing for Yavapai Roughriders (2004-05) and Ohio State Buckeyes (2006-07), going on to play in the National Premier Soccer League for Arizona Sahuaros. He was picked up by Kansas City Wizards in 2008 and went on to play 113 games for the club, scoring two goals. The club changed its name to Sporting Kansas City in 2010.
Having become a US Citizen in 2008, he had the chance to play for the USA but opted instead for Honduras and now has 25 Caps, scoring three times.
He was one of the stand out players at the London Olympic Games last summer and played in all four matches for the Honduran team, including a goal-scoring Man-of-The Match performance against Brazil.
Espinoza will sign a two-and-a-half year contract,