Houston Dynamo FC signed forward Iván Franco on loan from Club Libertad, both clubs announced today. The loan is pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
“Iván is an exciting young attacking talent who we hope can flourish in our environment in Houston,” Dynamo general manager, Pat Onstad said. “At 22-years old, he has already won three trophies for Libertad and gained valuable experience in Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. At his best, Iván is a difference maker who can play across the front three attacking positions, and we can’t wait to work with him in Houston.”
The attacker joins the Dynamo after winning three domestic titles in five seasons with Libertad in his native Paraguay. Franco scored 10 goals and tallied 16 assists in 116 appearances for the club in all competitions.
He made his professional debut as a 17-year-old in Libertad’s 2-0 victory over Club Atlético Tucumán in the group stage of the 2018 Copa Libertadores. Since then, he led Libertad to three domestic titles. He won the 2021 Apertura title with current Dynamo teammate Sebas Ferreira. Franco raised the Apertura title again in 2022 as Libertad finished with an 18-1-3 (WLD) record.
Franco led his team to win the 2019 Copa Paraguay, scoring three goals, which tied for the third most in the competition. His final goal of the tournament came in the 4-1 aggregate victory over Sol de America in the semifinals.
The 22-year-old has been a regular participant in the Copa Libertadores over the past five seasons, making 17 appearances in the South American competition. His international club experience includes an additional nine appearances in the Copa Sudamericana.
Internationally, the attacker made his senior debut with Paraguay in a 4-2 victory over Jordan in a friendly on Sept. 10, 2019. He has also represented Paraguay at the U-20 and U-23 level.
Franco is the fourth player to join the Dynamo as a senior roster player this offseason. All four players have won domestic titles prior to coming to Houston: Artur (MLS Cup 2020), Andrew Tarbell (MLS Cup 2020), Brad Smith (MLS Cup 2019), and Ivan Franco (Paraguay’s Apertura in 2021 and 2022). Additionally, the club signed Ifunanyachi Achara (2019 NCAA National Champion) and drafted Isaiah Reid (2021 NCAA National Champion).