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Monterey Bay F.C. signs veteran forward Ugo Okoli

By Staff, 04/20/23, 12:51PM EDT


2016 Championship MVP has recorded 32 goals in 109 regular season appearances in league

Monterey Bay F.C. has signed former USL Championship MVP Ugo Okoli, adding experience to the club's attacking corps with the 30-year-old center forward. | Photo courtesy Monterey Bay F.C.

SEASIDE, Calif. – Monterey Bay F.C. announced on Thursday the club had signed veteran forward Ugo Okoli to a one-year contract. The addition of Okoli provides the side with more experience and depth at the top of the formation.

The 30-year-old forward enters his 10th season in the professional ranks with MBFC, having begun his career with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC as a Homegrown signing before the 2014 season. In that span he has made 112 regular season appearances in the USL Championship, recording 32 goals and seven assists, while also recording one goal in 24 appearances in Major League Soccer.

Okoli broke out in the 2016 season when he joined FC Cincinnati for its inaugural season in the Championship, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award and Golden Boot with 16 goals in 29 appearances. His strength and finishing as a center forward promises to be a valuable asset alongside fellow forwards Christian Volesky, Alex Dixon and Sam Gleadle, among others.

“We’ve been looking for a number nine to help out our forward group and Ugo will do exactly that,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Frank Yallop. “He’s a good all-around center forward. He’s dynamic, strong, and good in the air. Ugo will bring a lot of experience; he’s played a lot of minutes in the league. He had a lot of success at FC Cincinnati and we’re hoping to bring that here with us.”

From Federal Way, Wash., Okoli made his MLS debut on March 8, 2014 as a second-half substitute in the Sounders’ regular season opener against Sporting Kansas City. Okoli also spent time in the top flight with the New England Revolution and New York City FC, while competing overseas in Sweden, Norway, and Austria.

Okoli most recently competed for fellow USL Championship club Orange County SC, where he helped the side claim the 2021 USL Championship Final. Last season, Okoli made 35 appearances in all competitions and scored six goals with seven total goal contributions across 1,602 minutes.

“I’m excited to join MBFC. I’ve heard great things about the club, the group of guys, and the fans,” said Okoli. “I think the style of play is a good fit and I know we can achieve big things this season. I’m also looking forward to working with Frank. I’ve known of him for many years, and I have a lot of respect for him, his experience in the game, and his ability to help improve his players and teams.

“I can’t wait to play in front of our home fans and win a lot of games this season. I think the Championship is something we can push for and win. I’ve played against most of the guys in our group throughout the years, so I'm ready to come in and bring my game and personality to the group. I’m just ready to get after it, win games and score goals. I want to continue to show the world what I'm all about.”

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