PORTLAND, Ore. (Saturday, January 27, 2007) -- University of Portland goalkeeper Luis Robles, who was drafted by D.C. United two weeks ago, has decided to pass up Major League Soccer and signed a contract with FC Kaiserslautern of Germany's 2.Bundesliga.
Details of the pact were not available.
Robles, 22, who made a school-record 346 saves in his four years at Portland, expects to see immediate action with Kaiserslautern's second team, but hopes for a quick promotion on a club that was relegated to the second division after last season, but is in good position to be promoted back to the 1. Bundesliga.
"This is an incredible place and a great opportunity for me," Robles said. "It's a perfect starting point for me professionally and I couldn't ask for anything better. I definitely see this as a launching pad. . . As long as I take care of what I need to do, I think (being moved up to the first team) could happen,"
Robles, who was D.C. United's fourth draft pick, 50th overall, tried out for other teams in Germany, but the most recent trial was with Kaiserslautern, which quickly signed him. The Sierra Vista, Ariz., native becomes the sixth keeper from Portland to play professionally, with United States men's great Kasey Keller, currently with Borussia Mönchengladbach, the most notable name in the group.
"We knew Luis could play at the next level and he went out and proved it," said Bill Irwin, who was goalkeepers coach at UP before taking over the head job following the death of legendary Clive Charles in 2003. "FC Kaiserslautern is a club with great potential and Luis impressed the staff in a short period of time."
Robles had 21 shutouts and a 1.18 goals-against average in his career at Portland. He joins former UP midfielder Josh Simpson, a Canadian, on Kaiserslautern. Simpson, 23, who has 15 international appearances with Canada, played for two years with Millwall in England before moving this season to Germany
Kaiserslautern is currently fourth in the 2.Bundesliga, at 8-3-7 with 31 points, two points below third-place MSV Duisburg (8-1-9). The top three teams are promoted. A year ago, the club went 8-17-9 (33 points), one point from safety as it finished 16th in the 18-team 1.Bundesliga and was among the three clubs sent down.
Kaiserslautern II, is winless and dead last in the third-division Regionalliga Süd at 0-13-7 with seven points. The team also employs midfielder Chris Lancos, who signed last January out of University of Maryland.
Lancos has played in 12 games, starting 10, recording no goals or assists while picking up one yellow card and one red card.