Amavubi center back Abdul Rwatubyaye has agreed a one-year contract with USA club Sporting Kansas City to become the first Rwandan player to feature in the MLS history.
Major League Soccer is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States.
Rwatubyaye, 22, was added to the Sporting KC roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 visa. His MLS contract for the 2019 season includes options for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The center back spent the last three seasons with former Azam Rwanda Premier League champions Rayon Sports after moving from reigning league champions APR FC.
A professional since he was 16, he has won three Rwanda Premier League titles and played 22 matches for the Rwanda Men’s National Team, including appearances in FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
Rwatubyaye has represented Rwanda at the U-17, U-20, U-23 and senior levels.
Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said, “We’re interested in investing some time in him because we think he has some real qualities that show he could turn into a really strong center back in our league. He already can play, but his stock could really rise here.”
Rwatubyaye said, “We have agreed terms with Sporting Kansas City. They have also had an agreement with my club Rayon Sports. What is left is the paper work to see me head to USA to seal the contract and start the professional life with MLS club,”
A week ago, Sporting KC was absent from the center back market, content to enter the season with its allotment for the two positions. But then it traded Ike Opara to Minnesota for up to $1 million in allocation money last week. Opara started 61 matches for Sporting over the past two seasons.
Rwatubyaye has also featured in the CAF Champions League, CAF Confederation Cup, African Nations Championship and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
The former APR FC centre-back joins Matt Besler, Andreu Fontas, Botond Barath and Graham Smith as central defenders under contract for 2019 following the trade of Ike Opara.
SKC open their 2019 competitive campaign in the Concacaf Champions League on Feb. 21 against Toluca before opening their MLS season on March 3 against LAFC.
2019 Sporting KC Roster as of February 6, 2019:
Goalkeepers: Dick Eric, Melia Tim and Zendejas Adrian
Defenders: Barath Botond, Besler Matt, Fontas Andreu, Lindsey Jaylin, Medranda Jimmy, Rwatubyaye Abdul, Sinovic Seth, Smith Graham, Wallace Rodney and Zusi graham
Midfielders: Busio Gianluca, Croizet Yohan, Espinoza Roger, Gutierrez Felipe, Rowe Kelyn Sanchez and Ilie Kuzain Wan
Forwards: Fernandes Gerso, Freeman Tyler, Hurtado Erik, Nemeth Krisztian, Russell Johnny and Salloi Daniel