He was named the Impact’s Most Valuable Player in 2019
MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Friday that Nigerian youth international midfielder Orji Okwonkwo has rejoined the club on loan from Italian club Bologna FC 1909, for the 2020 season. With the loan, Montreal will have the option to exercise a permanent transfer for Okwonkwo at the end of the 2020 season.
“Orji was one of the most efficient players on our roster last season,” said Impact sporting director Olivier Renard. “We are very happy to see him return for another season after watching him gain MLS and youth national team experience in 2019.”
Okwonkwo, 22, returns for his second spell with the Impact after being named the club’s Most Valuable Player in 2019, receiving the Giuseppe-Saputo Trophy.
In his first season with the Impact and at just 21 years old, Okwonkwo finished the year with eight goals, the highest total for a player in his first year with the club since Didier Drogba scored 11 in 2015. He added two assists in 28 games, including 24 starts, and 1,784 minutes. He also won the 2019 Canadian Championship, appearing in four games during the tournament.
He finished tied for second on the team for goals and shots (55) and tied for 10th in MLS with two multi-goal games, recording a brace in wins versus Portland and Philadelphia. Okwonkwo also won MLS Goal of the Week for week 17.
He previously played in Italy between 2016 and 2019, scoring three goals in 27 Serie A games with Bologna FC 1909, including four starts, and 951 minutes. He joined the Italian club in 2016 after going through the academy of Nigerian club FC Abuja.
He spent the second half of the 2017-18 season on loan with Brescia, in Serie B, recording one goal in 13 games, four as a starter, and 455 minutes.
At the international level, Okwonkwo started three games for Nigeria at the 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations, scoring a goal against Zambia. He won the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2015, in Chile, with the Nigeria U17 team, appearing in five games throughout the tournament. He scored a goal in a 4-2 win against Mexico in the semi-final game.
Okwonkwo was ranked #21 of 22 best MLS players under 22 years old by MLSsoccer and the fans during the 2019 season.
Transaction: The Montreal Impact acquired midfielder Orji Okwonkwo on loan from Bologna FC 1909, for the 2020 season. With the loan, Montreal will have the option to exercise a permanent transfer for Okwonkwo at the end of the 2020 season.
Weight: 160 lbs
Birthdate and birthplace: January 19, 1998, in Benin City, Nigeria
Last club: Impact de Montréal (MLS)
Date acquired: January 24, 2020