Memphis 901 FC has signed defender Akeem Ward, who brings four seasons of experience to his new club after helping Rio Grande Valley FC to the postseason this past campaign. | Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC announced on Wednesday the club had signed defender Akeem O’Connor-Ward to a multi-year contract ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
“Akeem is a very experienced USL defender that we are sure can come in at both ends of the pitch.” Said Memphis Head Coach Stephen Glass. “His qualities have been seen throughout his career and we’re looking forward to him showing what he can do in Memphis.”
A native of Vienna, Va., Ward was selected with the 14th pick of the 2019 Major League Soccer SuperDraft by D.C. United after a standout career at Creighton University. He began his professional career in the USL Championship with Loudoun United FC, and subsequently competed in the league for Birmingham Legion FC later in the 2019 season and North Carolina FC in the 2020 season.
Ward joined Oakland Roots SC in 2021, serving as captain as the team reached the Western Conference Semifinals in its first season in the USL Championship. He more recently spent the majority of the 2022 season on loan at Rio Grande Valley FC. Ward made 19 appearances during the 2022 season with two goals to go with 27 tackles won and 37 interceptions while completing 83% of his passes.
Overall, the 27-year-old has made 83 appearances in the Championship over the past four seasons, recording four goals, four assists and 45 chances created.
“It’s a team that has been built these past couple of years and retaining the roster was huge. I’ve played with and against these guys for a number of years and I know what they’re capable of,” said Ward. “With the run that was made last year and being able to come in and add to that team can make it even stronger, it was a no brainer with the city that embodies who I am.”