By Bereket Kidane,
Henok Goitom, the Captain of the Red Sea Camels and the 2015 Allsvenskan Most Valuable Player (MVP), recently signed a contract with the San Jose Earthquakes and is expected to make his debut this week at Avaya Stadium vs. the Houston Dynamo.
The former AIK striker and La Liga veteran becomes the latest European import to the United States Major League Soccer (MLS).
Europe’s top professional players from the Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, Italian Serie A, and German Bundesliga are increasingly deciding to round out their careers by playing in the MLS. Former Real Madrid striker and Brazil International Kaka (Orlando City SC), former Liverpool defender and England international Steven Gerrard (Los Angeles Galaxy), and former Barcelona striker and Spanish International David Villa (New York City FC) are all currently playing in the MLS.
Current Barcelona standouts Neymar and Lionel Messi have also indicated that they would like to finish their careers by playing in the MLS.
When explaining his decision to join the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS, Henok Goitom told the San Jose Mercury News that he was ready for some football adventure in America and that he was very happy by the warm reception he has received from his teammates. The San Jose Earthquakes are currently vying to earn a playoff spot and are desperately in need of some offense. As an experienced striker and a prolific goal scorer, Henok can provide that attacking spark.
Henok has expressed a desire to become a coach after his playing career is over. Playing in America will add to his multitude of experiences. We all hope coaching Eritrea’s national team is in Henok’s future once he hangs up the cleats.
Henok couldn’t have picked a better region to round out his playing career. The San Francisco Bay Area is world-famous for its breath-taking beauty, excellent year-round weather and Cosmopolitan lifestyle. He will not miss Sweden once he settles in the Bay Area. Former German International and current coach of the United States men’s national soccer team, Jurgen Klinsmann, fell in love with Northern California after he visited the United States during the 1994 World Cup games and decided to settle in California after his playing career was over.
Henok and the San Jose Earthquakes signed a 6-months contract with a one-year extension, which means that he will be with the Quakes for the 2017 season as well. The Quakes’ General Manager, John Doyle, told goal.com in a club release,
“Henok is a proven goal scorer that will add punch to our offense. We think he will be a great fit for the club both on the field and in the locker room.”
Indeed, Henok will be a terrific addition to the Quakes’ on and off the field. Back in Sweden, he manages a youth club called Kista Galaxy FC that welcomes youth from all backgrounds and ethnicities. We wish him all the best in his MLS playing career.
Eritrean-American sports fans in the Bay Area should express their support by attending games and watching Henok and the team play. Go Quakes!