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Cameroon youth international signs first team contract

Olivier Mbaizo signed with Bethlehem Steel FC in January but never appeared for them

Olivier Mbaizo training with the Philadelphia Union on April 12, 2018
Matt Ralph

Cameroonian youth international Olivier Mbaizo has officially joined the Philadelphia Union after training almost exclusively with the first team since signing a USL contract in January.

Mbaizo, 20, is a versatile defender who can play both outside back positions and center back so he provides the first team some defensive depth. He will occupy an international roster spot on the team.

“Olivier trained with the Union first team throughout our preseason, and it became clear that he has the potential to immediately contribute at the MLS level,” Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a news release. “He has earned this quick ascension to our first team through his play in preseason, and we look forward to further integrating him and assisting with his development.”

The Douala native was a teammate of Eric Ayuk’s at the 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations and competed on the club level for Rainbow FC and Union Douala.

Mbaizo fills the Union’s seventh international spot on the roster — the eighth was traded to NYCFC for allocation money — but the team still has flexibility via loans to the Steel to sign additional international players. The Steel have only three of their seven allotted international spots filled.

The Union have two more roster spots open on the first team.