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USL Review: Real Monarachs sell Okumu to Sweden for ‘record’ transfer fee

Okumu spent just a year with Real Monarchs, joining the USL Championship from the NPSL ranks.

Real Monarchs SLC defender Stanley Okumu has been transferred to Swedish first division club IF Elfsborg. (Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC)

About a year after signing with the Real Monarchs from NPSL side AFC Ann Arbor, Joseph Stanley Okumu is on the move again.

Real Monarchs announced Wednesday that it had sold the Kenyan international to IF Elfsborg – a club in Sweden’s top tier – for a “USL Championship record” transfer fee. Although the club nor USL revealed the exact figure, Jeff Rueter of the Athletic reported that Okumu was sold for around $200,000, and there is potential for Real Monarchs to earn more if Okumu hits certain performance marks.

“First and foremost, we are ecstatic for Stanley. Since his arrival at the club, Stanley has bought into the plan laid out for him to continue to develop as a player,” Real Monarchs general manager Dan Egner said in a statement. “His hard work and continued determination to improve earned him the chance to move to a European first division club.”

Okumu, 22, typically plays at centerback and has appeared in 13 matches for the Monarchs since joining the club in August 2018. In addition to notching an assist this season, the 6-foot-4 defender has racked up 47 clearances, six blocks, 13 interceptions, 11 tackles, three shots and a 74 percent success rate on passes.

In June, Okumu was called up to the Kenyan national team for the African Cup of Nations, becoming the first player in the Real Salt Lake system to play in the tournament. He appeared in three matches, logging 270 minutes.

IF Elfsborg last won the Swedish Championship in 2012 and the Swedish Cup in 2013-14. They last played in the UEFA Champions League in 2013 and last played in the UEFA Europa League in 2015.

“From a club standpoint, this is historic. We set out to win and develop with the Monarchs, and this illustrates the execution of a significant part of the club’s vision,” Egner said. “We are excited to break the USL record for a transfer fee, and we hope this move helps raise the profile of the league and our club at the global level.”

Things to know

  • The Tulsa Roughnecks have new owners. It was announced last week that the club was purchased by a trio of Tulsa natives and brothers, JW Craft, Ryan Craft and Kyle Craft. The purchase of the club was complete on July 31, and the Athletic reported that the average price of a USL Championship club is between $15 and $20 million. The Craft family indicated it would wait to make any major changes at the club, according to a press release from the league.
  • Louisville City FC avenged their season-opening loss to North Carolina FC on Saturday, taking a 1-0 win. Magnus Rasmussen scored the lone goal of the match. Celtic FC loaner and NCFC academy product Manny Perez earned his first start since May 18.
  • 27-year-old defender Jack Metcalf scored his first professional goal, but ATL UTD 2 lost 2-1 to Memphis 901 FC on Wednesday. Adam Najem netted a brace in the win for Memphis.
  • North Carolina FC academy product Adam Armour has been named to the roster for the U.S. U-17 squad for the 4 Nations Tournament in Assen, Netherlands in September. Armour, 16, has 16 caps for the U-17 national team. He will be joined on the team by fellow USL Championship player Aaron Cervantes, a goalkeeper for Orange County SC.
  • Sacramento Republic FC announced last week that it will host Liga MX side FC Juarez in a friendly on Oct. 9.

Transactions

  • Austin Bold FC announced Wednesday that it had signed U.S. youth international George Acosta to a contract for the remainder of the 2019 season. Acosta, 19, had been with Argentine side Boca Juniors. The attacking midfielder played for the U.S. in the 2017 U-17 World Cup, netting a goal in two appearances.
  • San Antonio FC announced Monday that 16-year-old midfielder Ethan Bryant was sold to K.S.V. Roeselare, a club in Belgium’s second-tier. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. With SAFC, Bryant appeared in 16 games and scored twice while adding three assists. SAFC head coach Darren Powell said: “He is a wonderful character and a very good player with a bright future ahead of him.”
  • Atlanta United has elevated Luiz Fernando to an MLS contract. The 22-year-old signed with the club’s USL Championship affiliate last November, and has tallied one goal and two assists in 21 appearances. Previously, he played with the Richmond Kickers.
  • North Carolina FC signed a former goalkeeper from its academy, Ryan Cretens, to a contract with its USL Championship club. At UNC-Wilmington, Cretens saved 71 percent of the shots he faced.
  • ATL UTD 2 signed Amir Bashti to a contract. The 22-year-old Stanford product was originally drafted by Atlanta with the 48th overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. He did not make the senior team roster, however, and spent time with San Francisco Glens SC of USL League Two earlier this summer. Bashti has appeared with the U.S. national team at the U-19 and U-20 levels.

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They said it

Nashville SC defender Darnell King after a 2-1 win over Charleston: “It’s kind of poetic in way. These are where big stories are made. The run that we’ve been on is huge, and I think if we just keep this going, we’re going to be in a pretty big fight towards the end. We just want to keep going and get to the championship.”

ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass on Brandon Vazquez: “Brandon played extremely well throughout the match. He is still working his way back from injury, so for him to go out there and put in a quality 90 minutes while also scoring a goal is a great sign for the club.”

NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan after a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay last Wednesday: “We’ve scored nine goals in the last two games, which is very encouraging. I think the combinations on the field, the movement, the belief and the willingness to get in the box and be dangerous has gotten through to this group.”

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