Thomas Enevoldsen, Magnus Rasmussen and Sebastian Dalgaard are among the best players to have competed in the USL Championship during its history.
It all began in 2014, with Jimmy Nielsen.
The former Danish goalkeeper, appointed as the first Head Coach in OKC Energy FC in 2013, introduced the first of his fellow countrymen to play in the USL Championship the following year as Philip Lund joined up for the club’s inaugural season.
Since then, there has been a steady stream of Danish players who have made their impact felt in the Championship, including some top players in league history.
After this week’s announcements by Orange County SC of the arrival of forward Emil Nielsen and Louisville City FC of midfielder Rasmus Thellufsen, here’s a look at five of their predecessors who made the biggest mark in the league’s history.
Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic
Hartford Athletic (2019-20)
Mads Jorgensen scored five goals in 38 appearances for Hartford Athletic across his two seasons with the club, and four of them were certified long-range bangers. That’s easily enough to get him on this list, regardless of anything else.
Brought across the Atlantic by inaugural Athletic Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen – there’s that name again – the central midfielder was a solid contributor – he made 13 appearances when Hartford landed its lone postseason berth so far in club history during the shortened 2020 season. His highlight-reel provided some of Hartford’s most memorable goals so far in club history.
Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
OKC Energy FC (2015-16), Saint Louis FC (2017), Hartford Athletic (2019), Tampa Bay Rowdies (2020-present)
Sebastian Dalgaard is the longest-tenured player on this list and is closing in on 200 appearances across the regular season and playoffs in the USL Championship as he enters his fourth campaign with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He’s been a consistent contributor over that time, notching 20 goals and 16 assists in 184 appearances, and his quality as a two-way player on the left side has made him a great fit in Tampa Bay’s lineup. After logging a career-high 2,296 minutes in the 2022 season, he also shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
Louisville City FC (2015-16, 2018-19)
Part of Louisville City FC’s inaugural squad in 2015, Magnus Rasmussen’s two stints with the club saw him record numerous memorable moments, as well as play a role in the club’s second Championship title. He scored the first official goal in LouCity history, opening the scoring in its 2-0 victory against Saint Louis FC on March 28, 2015, but it was the 2019 season that really saw the attacking midfielder reach his peak.
That year he bagged 17 goals across the regular season and playoffs – scoring in three of the side’s four playoff games, including two goals in two minutes against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and the extra time winner against Indy Eleven. The campaign ensured his place in LouCity lore.
Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
OKC Energy FC (2015-2017), FC Cincinnati (2017-18)
A key figure in one of the Championship’s greatest Golden Boot races, Danni Konig made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the league with OKC Energy FC in 2015, bagging 21 goals as the club reached the postseason for the first time. He ended one short of the award – Louisville City FC’s Matt Fondy bested him by one goal – but Konig continued to rack up goals across his four campaigns in the league.
He was added to FC Cincinnati’s attack midway through the 2017 season and notched 11 goals for the Orange and Blue in each of his two seasons in the Queen City. The latter of those helped drive a side that notched what was at the time the best record in Championship regular season history, and his 48 tallies overall at a strike rate of a goal every 175 minutes puts him among the league’s most impactful goalscorers.
Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
Orange County SC (2018), Indy Eleven (2019), Sacramento Republic FC (2019), Orange County SC (2020-21)
After Danni Konig had forged the trail, Thomas Enevoldsen followed him with one of the best all-time individual seasons upon his arrival in the Championship with Orange County SC in 2018, and then went on to deliver goals at each of his subsequent stops before capping his career with a league title back in Orange County in 2021.
Enevoldsen’s 20 goals and 10 assists not only made him a finalist for the Championship’s Most Valuable Player award in 2018 but marked one of only two seasons in which a player has hit those marks across the regular season and playoffs in league history. Overall, Enevoldsen notched 37 goals and 18 assists across 88 appearances in the league and left an indelible mark on the league.