|Full name||Petter Enrique Villegas España|
|Date of birth||November 15, 1975|
|Place of birth||Esmeraldas, Ecuador|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|1996||→ NY/NJ MetroStars (loan)||3||(0)|
|2004||→ Barcelona SC (loan)||1||(0)|
|2004||→ Manta (loan)||13||(0)|
|2005||→ Deportivo Cuenca (loan)||6||(0)|
|2005–2009||Puerto Rico Islanders||107||(15)|
|2011||River Plate Puerto Rico||4||(1)|
|2011–2012||Puerto Rico Islanders||12||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of December 17, 2011|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of December 17, 2011
Youth and collegeEdit
Villegas came to the United States with his family as a child, settling in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Saint Benedict's Preparatory School, where he was a three-time New Jersey All State high school player, scoring 34 goals, assisted on 18 more in 1993. In 1999, he was named by The Star-Ledger as one of the top ten New Jersey high school soccer players of the 1990s.
Villegas' first taste of Major League Soccer action came in 1996, when he played three games for the MetroStars on loan from the New Jersey Stallions of the USISL. Three years in the minors followed, until the Metros drafted Villegas in the first round of the 1999 MLS Supplemental Draft. He played the next four and a half seasons for the Metros, mostly as a right midfielder, but also as a forward and defender. Villegas' erratic play matched his versatility – brilliant one moment, awful the next – earning him the sarcastic nickname The Greatest Metro Ever. Despite his inconsistency, he scored a number of key goals, including an overtime game winner in a comeback against the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2000. Overall, Villegas scored 13 goals and 21 assists in his Metro career, adding two goals and two assists in the playoffs.
On May 10, 2002, the MetroStars traded Villegas and defender Orlando Perez to D.C. United for Craig Ziadie and Mark Lisi. At the time of the trade, Villegas had started all seven MetroStars' games that season. He spent the rest of the year with D.C., scoring two goals and adding five assists. Villegas left MLS afterwards, going back to his native Ecuador to play for Aucas, Barcelona SC, Manta and Deportivo Cuenca. In 2005, he came back to the United States, signing with the Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL First Division. He continued with the Puerto Rico Islanders until the end of the 2009 season.
Villegas signed with River Plate Puerto Rico of the USL for the 2011 season, but played just three games before the team was removed from USL Pro due to financial difficulties. He moved back to the Islanders in the North American Soccer League in June. His contract was not renewed at the end of the season.
In 2008, having been a resident of Puerto Rico for three years, Villegas made his debut with the Puerto Rican national team, scoring a goal against the Dominican Republic, which enabled Puerto Rico to advance to the next stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification.
Puerto Rico IslandersEdit
- Jandoli, Ron. "The Century's Best -- Boys Soccer: Top 10 Players of each decade", The Star-Ledger, November 7, 1999, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 10, 2003. Accessed September 11, 2008.
- Yannis, Alex (2001-05-14). "SOCCER; A Long Road to M.L.S. For MetroStars' Villegas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2010-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)