ATLANA — Former Georgia State men’s soccer standout Michael Nwiloh made history when he signed a professional contract with Chivas USA on Wednesday. The Conyers native will be the first GSU men’s soccer player to play for a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
“It feels great,” Nwiloh said after signing with the Goats. “It is rewarding to see that hard work pays off. I wake up every morning with a greater motivation and drive to keep improving. It is my goal to keep moving up the professional ladder.”
Chivas USA selected Nwiloh with the 59th pick (second pick of the fourth round) in the MLS Super Draft on Jan. 21, 2014.
“Michael is a young player who has a lot of potential,” Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera told the team’s official website that announced the signing. “He is a very tall, athletic and physical center back with good technique. He joins our club eager to work hard and learn in a professional environment from experienced players like Carlos Bocanegra.”
Nwiloh, who will wear No. 13 for the Goats, played in six preseason games for Chivas USA and helped the team finish second in the Desert Diamond Cup. In his last game, Nwiloh played the full 90 minutes in a home reserve league match against Sacramento Republic FC.
“We are really excited for Michael and couldn’t be happier that Chivas USA have decided to sign him,” Georgia State head men’s soccer coach Brett Surrency said. “We have chatted a good bit since he has been out in L.A. I know how much this means to him and he is still driven to go a lot further.”
At Georgia State, Nwiloh started 73 of 75 career games, including all 19 games at center back for the Panthers in the 2013 season. He was instrumental in helping the team overcome a slow start to finish the season with a 9-9-1 record after winning nine of its last 14 matches. Nwiloh was named to the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) All-South Region second team in December for his stellar performance on the field during the 2013 season.
Chivas USA is located outside of Los Angeles in the suburb of Carson, Calif. The team competes in the Western Conference of the MLS and finished 2013 with a 6-20-8 record. Chivas joined the MLS in 2004 as the league’s 11th team. The club plays its home games at the StubHub Center, which it shares with its cross-town rival, the LA Galaxy.