By Modou Lamin Beyai
Major League Soccer club Minnesota United have secured the signature of Gambian attacker Ismaila Jome, it has been announced.
Jome, who was born to Gambian parents Dodou and Jainaba Jobe on 4th November 1994 in Banjul, joins United having played three years with the University of California, Santa Barbara as both a defender and a winger.
The 22-year-old trained with Minnesota for several years before being signed ahead of the 2017 season, feeling it was the right time to turn professional after his junior year of college.
“It’s lovely the fact that he’s from Minnesota,” said Minnesota’s Newcastle-born gaffer Carl Craig. “We can develop footballers in Minnesota and have a guy that was brought up in the Cities come to join the group I think is wonderful both for our football club, but certainly shows the community that were a community organization.”
The 6ft 1in freshman year saw him take home a plethora of honors including Big West Freshman of the year and All-Big West First Team. In 56 appearances for the Gauchos, he had six goals and 15 assists.
“I am an attacking player. I like to dribble and run at defenders with pace. I think that’s my main attribute. I just love to play attacking,” said Jome. “I expect to integrate well with the team, and do as well as I can for the team and help us win trophies.”
The Gambian-born moved to Brooklyn Park at a young age and was a standout player in high school, leading Prairie Seeds Academy to three Section 1A titles and one Class A State Championship.
“It’s amazing to be signed by my hometown club, obviously into the MLS, it’s a huge thing and an honor and a pleasure to be playing for the club.”
The attacker has made five appearances in the ongoing MLS season with two starting berths against Orlando City and Sporting Kansas City respectively.
Jome becomes the second Gambian to currently ply his trade in America’s top-tier, following in the footsteps of Columbus Crew’s Bakau-born winger Kekuta Manneh.