OKC Energy FC new signing Villyan Bijev has spent the past four seasons with Sacramento Republic FC, and has notched 28 goals in the Championship's regular season overall. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC announced on Wednesday it had signed attacking midfielder Villyan Bijev, pending league and federation approval.
Bijev appeared in all 17 matches for Sacramento Republic FC in 2020, scoring four goals and recording two assists. He was the only Sacramento player to compete in every match in 2020 and finished second in goals as the side reached the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the USL Championship Playoffs.
“I’m excited to join such a hardworking team,” said Bijev. “It was never easy to play against OKC, you knew you were going into a battle, which is what I expect from us this year. I want to add to the team on the offensive end and also be in a team that’s going to grind, work hard, pummel opponents and do what we need to do to get a win.
“What I’ve seen so far is everyone is part of a collective. The coaching staff and the players all make up a very positive unit.”
The 28-year-old also previously played for Portland Timbers 2, where he earned USL Championship All-League First Team honors in 2016 after earning the league’s Assist Champion award with 10 assists. Bijev also led T2 with eight goals that season, and for his Championship career has recorded 28 goals and 22 assists in 141 regular season contests.
“Villyan was someone we were looking for to fit a specific profile out wide,” said Energy FC Head Coach John Pascarella. “He likes to run in behind the defense, and he’s aggressive when he defends, so that fits well with the personality of our team. He also adds to our group of players who can take guys on and combine well to cause defenders problems.”
At the age of 18, Bijev was invited to trial with Liverpool FC, where he scored five goals in two friendlies with the U-18s. His performances earned him a contract, before going on loan to German side Fortuna Dusseldorf and Norwegian First Division side IK Start. Biljev made the move to T2 in 2016 and has scored 31 goals in all competitions in the United States, spending the past four seasons with Republic FC where he helped the side reach the USL Championship Playoffs in all four campaigns.
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, but raised in the United States, Bijev is eligible for both nations. He has represented the United States at the U-18 and U-20 levels and Bulgaria at the U-21 level.