On the morning of Tuesday, August 2, the Philadelphia Union bolstered their midfield depth by signing versatile midfielder Richard Odada.
The length of the contract is 2 and a half years with a club option for the third and fourth years in exchange for an undisclosed transfer fee.
Odada, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, will be inserted into the Union’s active roster following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa, as he will occupy an international roster spot upon his arrival on the team.
“Richard is a holding midfielder with positional versatility and a great potential to be a valuable contributor as we continue to develop our roster,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.
“He can play multiple midfield roles as well as center back, and he has the height, speed, and physicality we were searching for. We look forward to integrating him this year and encouraging his development for the future.”
The 21-year-old is heading to Philadelphia following his short stint with Red Star Belgrade of the Serbian SuperLiga, which is Serbia’s first-tier league.
While with Red Star Belgrade, he only made two appearances.
The Kenyan international first put his name on the map when he was sent out on loan to RFK Grafičar Beograd, where he tallied three assists in 25 appearances, including 22 starts. Then in 2021, Odada was loaned to first-tier side FK Metalac Gornji Milanovac, as he earned18 starts for the Serbian side. He then rejoined RFK Grafičar Beograd on loan in 2022 before being traded to Philadelphia.
Odada has also shared in some personal success on the international level as he registered five caps for the Kenyan Men’s National Team, with his first senior call-up being in September of 2021. The 6’3” midfielder notched his debut with the team on September 2, 2021, in a scoreless tie against Uganda ahead of the nation’s World Cup qualifier matches. Odada tallied his first international goal in a 2-1 win against Rwanda on November 15, 2021.
Odada brings both depth and a unique style of play to the midfield as he can also play on the back line as a defender if need be. Curtin will have his hands full now in the middle of the field, but that is certainly a good problem to have.
From a fan and media perspective, for now, it looks like Odada will serve as the backup to Jose Martinez, but if Martinez is dealt in the winter, be on the lookout for Odada to compete for that number 6 spot in the midfield.
Welcome to the Boys and Blue, Richard Odada!
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