Long Time Coming: Danny Mwanga Becomes A US Citizen

USA TODAY Sports

The former Union striker finally gets his wish and receives his fully US citizenship.

After arriving as a refugee from a country in turmoil, Danny Mwanga always looked forward to getting his citizenship with the United States of America. Mwanga's enthusiasm for his time in the United States has always been evident.

The young striker has never shied away from the fact that he'd love to turn from refugee into a representative of the country at the international level.

"Yes, [playing for the U.S.] is something I've thought about," Mwanga said to Keith Hickey, of Goal, three years ago. "My family lives here. It would be an honor to represent the United States. Playing for the U.S. in a World Cup would be a wonderful opportunity."

Today his dream was fulfilled as the Democratic Republic of the Congo born 21-year-old was made a citizen of the United States.

Here's what the Colorado Rapids posted on their official website in recognition of the event:

Colorado Rapids forward Danny Mwanga was not part of the 18 for the match against Portland Timbers on Sunday, but he still made the trip to Oregon.

Mwanga missed out on facing his former side, but he was not going to miss a Monday morning meeting at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Field Office in Northwest Portland.

The 21-year-old was sworn in as a US citizen, on what will have been a bitter-sweet day for the Mwanga family.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Mwanga arrived in the US in 2006 after fleeing from his war-torn homeland.

You can hear his inspirational tale in this week's Rapids Report, which airs on Altitude this Thursday from 6pm MT.

Mwanga spent just over two seasons with the Union, recording 12 goals in 61 games (35 starts). He was persuaded by former head coach Peter Nowak to come to Major League Soccer, as the first overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, instead of signing with Lorient, of Ligue 1, in France.

The Union sent Mwanga to the Portland Timbers early in 2012 in exchange for Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza, who barely played for Philadelphia before being released. Mwanga then was traded to Colorado, prior to the start of the 2013 MLS regular season for a first round draft selection.

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