NEW YORK — New York City FC added some depth at center back Tuesday.
The Major League Soccer club announced it had acquired Sebastien Ibeagha via a transfer from United Soccer League affiliate San Antonio FC.
Ibeagha, 26, spent the preseason with City in Florida, Los Angeles and Mexico.
A former U.S. Under-20 international and the reigning USL defender of the year, Ibeagha became NYCFC’s ninth addition this offseason.
He joined fellow newcomers Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jo Inge Berget, Cedric Hountondji, Jesus Medina, Ebenezer Ofori, Brad Stuver, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Anton Tinnerholm on the team.
“I’m really excited,” Ibeagha said. “It’s been cool to come in from an affiliate team in San Antonio in USL and to join NYCFC for preseason and to see that come to fruition.
“The first thing I learned when coming in for preseason was that this is a team of great guys. I’ve never seen a team in MLS as close as this, coming together in preseason to welcome people into the family and to take the new guys under their wings and making it easy to settle in.
“Secondly, everyone in this group can play, which is so important in raising all of our levels as this is a team that wants to win championships.”
As for himself, Ibeagha just wants to get better.
“Individually, I just want to continue developing and playing the best soccer I can. Collectively, this is a team that wants to win, this is a winning city and that’s what we have to put out every weekend and every day on the training pitch.”
Needless to say, the center back impressed head coach Patrick Vieira and his staff enough to make the team.
“I liked the way Sebastien trained,” Vieira said. “He showed a lot of character. He’s physically very strong and his tactical knowledge is very interesting.
“Of course, there is room for him to improve himself but I’m not worried about that because he’s a quick learner and he’s somebody who asks a lot of questions; who wants to improve.”
Born in Nigeria, Ibeagha now calls Missouri City home. He began his youth career at the Houston Dynamo Academy, emerging through the age groups to begin training with the first team before he attending Duke University. There, he was named first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 2012 and 2013.
Ibeagha kicked off his pro career in Europe, representing Danish clubs Horsens and Fredericia and Fram Reykjavik in Iceland.
After two years overseas, Ibeagha returned to Houston in 2016 and had loan spells at Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and Rayo OKC before signing with San Antonio FC last year.