New York City FC continued to bulk up for the Major League Soccer season, signing Norwegian international striker Jo Inge Berget as a free agent Friday.
Berget, 27, became City’s seventh offseason addition. His signing is pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira was impressed with Berget’s versatility.
“Jo is a player with good experience in Europe and he’s a player who can play in many different positions – on the wing, as a 9, or as a No, 10,” he said. “We’ve added another quality player with versatility, with a work ethic on the field which is something that is really important to us.
“What I like about him is his competitiveness. He’s a fighter, he works hard and he’s a leader in the way he plays. He comes to New York with a winning mentality, he has experience of winning trophies in Sweden and he is someone who will challenge all of the other players in the squad to be at their best.”
A member of Swedish Allsvenskan champion Malmo FF, Berget finished with a team-high 10 goals as it secured back-to-back league titles.
“He is a player who will impact our team on both sides of the ball,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said. He has a knack for scoring goals and combines well with his teammates and, on the defensive side of the ball, he has a relentless work rate to win the ball back for the team.”
Berget was most recently a teammate of fellow new signing Anton Tinnerholm for the past three seasons at Malmo FF. He has played in the top divisions of Norway, England, Scotland and Sweden.
Starting out his career at Tippeligaen side FC Lyn Oslo in his native Norway in 2008, Berget joined Udinese after his debut, although he never made an appearance for the Serie A club, instead spending the next three years on loan at Lyn and at Stromgodset.
A permanent switch to Molde followed which saw Berget make his name with 17 league goals in 63 appearances, including the opener in a title-deciding game vs. Tromso, which gave head coach Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men their first league championship.
Berget helped Molde to retain their title in the following year before Solksjaer took Berget with him to Cardiff City in the English Premier League in 2014 but opportunities were limited for the 6-foot-1 forward.
Following a brief loan at Celtic, Berget reignited his career by signing for Malmo FF in January 2015. He scored two goals vs. former side Celtic to help the team reach the UEFA Champions League group stages.
Now is next challenge is MLS.
“I feel delighted, I’m really looking forward to getting to New York and getting to play in MLS for one of the best teams and hopefully we’re going to win a trophy this year,” Berget said.
“New York has been up there at the top but they’ve never won, so hopefully we can make a change to that. I know about the coach and some of the players there and they like to play offensive football. I think it’s going to suit me really well.
“When New York comes in for you, it’s a big deal – it’s a nice city and it’s a good club. For me and my family, it was an easy decision in the end.”
NYCFC’s other offseason signings included Cedric Hountondji, Jesus Medina, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Brad Stuver, Ismael Tajouri and Tinnerholm.