At 28, Ismaila Jome is at that stage of his career where footballers are expected to peak. Born in the Gambian capital, in 1994, he relocated to the United States at a very young age.
He currently plays for the Portland Timbers 2 in the MLS Next Pro league and his fine form has earned him a first ever call-up to the Gambia team. In 2012, while studying at Prairie Seeds Academy High School, he was named the State High School Soccer Coaches Association’s “Mr. Soccer”.
He studied at the University of California and at the same time a student-athlete at the UC Santa Barba and made an immediate impact in his first season. He appeared in 18 more games the next year, scoring five goals. He left his boyhood club in 2016 to join the Minnesota United in the MLS. In 2018, he moved to United Soccer League side Nashville before returning to the Major League Soccer with Portland Timbers in 2021.
A versatile player, who is comfortable playing both as a midfielder and a defender, Jome’s inclusion in Tom Saintfiet’s 23-man squad for the Turkey training camp is indeed a welcome addition.