PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have signed Nigerian defender Gbenga Arokoyo, it was announced today. He will be added to the Timbers roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 visa.
The Timbers acquired the Discovery Priority on the defender from New York City FC in exchange for Targeted Allocation Money and a conditional third-round 2017 MLS SuperDraft pick.
“Gbenga is a young, athletic defender who we believe will be a strong asset to our back line as he continues to develop within our club,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers.
Arokoyo, 23, joins the Timbers with over 90 matches played in Europe, featuring in the top divisions in Sweden and Turkey since beginning his professional career in 2010 with Nigerian club Kwara United.
“Gbenga is a talented young player with an athletic profile and he has a big upside for the future,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers.
Most recently, Arokoyo spent the past two seasons with Turkish Süper Lig club Gaziantepspor, recording 40 appearances, one goal and three assists during that two-year span. Prior to joining Gaziantepspor, Arokoyo spent three seasons with Mjällby AIF in Allsvenskan, the top division in Sweden, recording 56 appearances and one goal.
At the international level, Arokoyo has earned two caps with the Nigerian National Team, making his senior-team debut against Mali on May 27, 2016. Coming up through the youth national team ranks, Arokoyo made 20 appearances for the U-20 Nigerian National Team and was part of the squad that won the 2011 U-20 African Youth Championship.
Arokoyo will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Transaction: Portland Timbers sign defender Gbenga Arokoyo on Aug. 2, 2016
Pronunciation: ben-GAH ar-roh-COY-yo
Born: Nov. 1, 1992, in Kabba, Nigeria
Last Club: Gaziantepspor
Acquired: Signed on Aug. 2, 2016