The Western Conference leaders get a boost on their back line.
Real Monarchs SLC have strengthened their defense with the signing of Kenyan center-back Joseph Stanley Okumu. The 21-year-old most recently played with the National Premier Soccer League side AFC Ann Arbor this year, helping them defend their Great Lakes Conference championship with a 9-1-2 record and reaching the semifinals of the 2018 NPSL playoffs.
In a press release from Real Monarchs SLC, general manager Dan Egner said, “Not only does Stanley give us defensive depth for the rest of the season, he is a player that we believe can develop into something special at this club.”
Before entering the NPSL, Okumu played for Free State Stars FC in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League during 2016-17 and Chemelil Sugar FC in the Kenyan Premier League from 2014 to 2016. He made his international debut in 2016 during qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and has since made appearances for Kenyan’s U21 and U23 teams.
Earlier this month, Okumu was named TopDrawerSoccer.com’s 2018 Player of the Year, a well-deserved accolade after playing 488 consecutive minutes for the club and playing a full 90 minutes in seven matches, all of which were shutouts. TopDrawerSoccer.com’s director of content, Travis Clark, was quoted saying, “Among the many deserving candidates, Okumu’s performance this season stood out above the rest.” He also achieved 53 tackles, 85 headers, 74 interceptions, 317 completed passes, 29 completed long balls, 16 blocks, and 58 clearances.
Okumu himself was quoted in Real Monarch SLC’s press release saying, “It feels great to be part of a great team like the Monarchs.” The finalization of his signing is pending the approval of his P-1 Visa.