Chijindu: Got off the mark in Iceland in 2012 - Victor Decolongon
We are back with another installment in our Once a Goat Series. This time, we chat about a native Californian who has gone overseas to Iceland.
His name may be difficult to say, and he may also be playing in a country off the beaten path for the sport, but former Chivas USA forward Chukwudi Chijindu found a new destination to play professionally in 2012. Last season, he featured with Thór, which played in the Icelandic second division. The good news is that they won the league, and have been promoted to the first division for the upcoming 2013 season.
The Southern California native originally came to the Goats from the University of Connecticut, where he scored 26 goals in 86 matches between 2004-07. He played for the Chivas USA reserves in 2008, and signed a developmental contract in 2009. He made his debut on April 11, 2009 against LA Galaxy, and didn't wait long to score his first pro goal, against Seattle Sounders on April 19, 2009. In all, he only scored two goals and one assist in 23 league appearances for Chivas in 2009 and 2010.
At the end of his spell with the club, he spent much of his remaining time out on loan to various lower division teams. On August 6, 2010 he was sent to second division side Miami FC (Now Fort Lauderdale Strikers and former team of Romario). On March 23, 2011 he was sent to the LA Blues for the rest of the USL-Pro season. He never made an appearance for Chivas USA in 2011, and the end of the MLS season, his option was declined. He wasn't picked up by any MLS club in the 2012 Re-Entry Draft.
Last year, he went to play with USL-Pro club Wilmington Hammerheads for ten matches before heading over to play with Thór, where he played with former Portland Timbers goalkeeper Josh Wicks. Chukwudi scored five goals in nine games last season, again helping the club win the league title and promotion to the first division. Will he see his role increase when the 2013 season begins in May? We will have to wait to find out, but in the meantime, he's hanging around Southern California, no doubt in order to soak up as much warmth and bright sunshine before heading back to Iceland. At the moment, it appears he's gone the farthest afield of any former player after leaving Chivas USA, but we will continue digging to find more stories of players who once wore the red-and-white!
You can follow him on twitter @ItsChuckMate
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