York9 FC have signed Swedish-Ghanaian Simon Adjei from Assyriska Turabdin IK on a free transfer.
Adjei, 25, spent 2016 in League1 Ontario with Jim Brennan’s Aurora FC after a spell with Husqvarna (the football team, not the tractor company) in the Swedish regional leagues.
The good news first: he’s scored a bucket of goals. That’s worth something at any level–players who score like that in the regional leagues usually get a look-see in the not-so-regional leagues pretty quickly, so Brennan got in quick and nabbed his former player before anyone else.
“I already created my name in Sweden. People already know me,” Adjei told the league website when signed.
Er, yeah. Adjei’s Assyriska IK gained promotion this past season, thanks Adjei scoring 30 goals, but he scored those in the Swedish fourth division. (Sweden plays a summer schedule, for obvious reasons.) I doubt too many people know him–his York9 signing is his top Google result. This is semi-pro soccer, so similar to League1 Ontario.
“To score 30 goals in any professional league is some feat. When we started talking to him we thought we’d be up against some of the Superettan (Swedish 2nd division) clubs.” I agree with Jim Brennan that 30 goals is a good haul, but level of play should be taken into account. Strikers won’t get the same time and space in the box against better defenders.
Will CanPL defenders be better? We know some of them will come from League1 Ontario, where Adjei scored 19 goals in 19 games (1706 minutes, 1.0 G/90). On the other hand, CanPL just bought L10 as a reserve league, so you’d expect the level of play to be higher in the higher division.
Adjei’s a pure target man, 6’3″, with soft enough feet to be useful. You can watch some grainy “highlight” clips of him here, which mostly consist of him colliding with referees in entertaining ways. To be fair, he does also show some nice passing range and good first touch, though it’s always a mug’s game guessing off highlight videos.
This signing is a bit puzzling given CanPL will have fairly strict domestic caps–six players on the field at any time must be Canadian, and Adjei is not. According to what data I can piece together, Adjei was less prolific with Husqvarna in the third division, which may explain why he was playing in L1O in 2016. Hedging his overall level from limited data and grainy video isn’t really fair, but it is fair to ask whether York9 could have found a similar player in Canada. Big strikers are a commodity we tend to have. International players in CanPL need to have a value beyond repatriating L1O alumni from the Swedish semi-pro ranks.