The "great adventure" of Marcelo Romero in the United States appears to have come to an end before it began. The former Uruguayan international does not appear in any of the RailHawks' game day literature, has not played a minute of first team football, and is not training with the team, raising suspicion that Romero will be released in the coming weeks.
The RailHawks announced Romero as a major signing on Feb. 5, with promises that the former Malaga (Spanish First Division) standout would make his debut against the New England Revolution March 14. As Romero began training with the team, it became clear to coaches, players and casual observers that his knee injuries were more serious than the RailHawks had been led to believe. Romero was timid in challenging for the ball and displayed obvious discomfort running around the field. He never figured in any lineup for Martin Rennie, coming on as a substitute only once, in a friendly.
Romero had attempted to return to his former world-class form after suffering major knee damage in 2005, the same year Malaga was relegated to the second division. Romero took up with Lucena, of the Spanish third division, where he played 14 games in 2008. The extent of his knee damage was never publicly detailed. After leaving Lucena, Romero hooked up with Score One Soccer who negotiated his contract with the RailHawks and brought him to the United States.
On Score One's home page, the following statement can be found: "Thanks to Score One Soccer, a local agency serving the needs of individual soccer players, clubs and top level Professional Soccer Teams all over the world, Marcelo Romero was recently acquired by the RailHawks and is sure to be a staple on the 2009 Carolina RailHawks roster."
Though the president of Score One, Daniel Araujo, had little to say about the present situation, he was adamant that Romero's "ongoing negotiations" had nothing to do with his physical condition. Araujo also stated that Score One was not directly involved in the negotiations but was serving in the capacity of a translator. All of this raises the question: Why there are negotiations in the first place?
The RailHawks had no comment on whether Romero's contract will be terminated.