Roster News

Union loan Eric Ayuk to Swedish side

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union have loaned winger Eric Ayuk to Swedish first division side Jönköpings Södra IF, the Union announced Tuesday.

Ayuk, 20, featured primarily for Union USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel FC last season and netted three goals and an assist in 1,442 minutes. He has also featured for Cameroon’s U-20 side, scoring last a goal last month against Sudan in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.

However, he appeared to be buried on a Union depth chart that includes Ilsinho, Fabian Herbers, Fafa Picault and Chris Pontius ahead of him at the wide midfield spots.

“This move is a terrific opportunity for Eric to receive valuable first team playing time, and at a high level in Sweden’s topflight,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in a statement from the club. “We believe in Eric’s talent and the experience he will gain in the Allsvenskan will be helpful for his development.”

Ayuk’s loan will last the entire 2017 season. (Swedish clubs play a spring-to-fall season, just as MLS does.) He is under contract through 2018.


  1. We all saw this coming.
    He clearly wasn’t a Curtin favorite but probably has value to the team as a transfer or getting seasoning in meaningful games overseas.
    Good luck.

    • I never really understood why Ayuk fell out of favor with Curtin. Was it the gymnastic-routine goal celebrations? He seemed to have a lot of upside when he played for the Union.

      • This speaks to our depth now. He does STILL have upside. But now we have legit MLS starters (Pontius, Herbers), good backups (Fafa and Ilson) and good youth (Epps and THEN Ayuk).

        So Ayuk is last on that list. But it’s actually a very very good thing.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    He has a few excellent one v. one moves out on the flank. He does not have as many as Marcus Epps seems to so far, especially that involve multiple touches on the ball under close control at his feet. And of course Ilsinho has no peer among Union players for that.
    Earnie seems to want that from his flank midfielders, if we judge by the player moves.
    last year the combination of Richter and Ayuk combining together on give-and-go moves down the right channel was the heart of the Steel early season offense, until defenders got wise and began to anticipate it. Ayuk did not have the same degree of alternatives to the combo work that Epps may — repeat, may — turn out to have.
    Santi Moar found out that Rochester defenders were a tougher proposition than. NCAA ones Saturday. He will get every opportunity to grow into the challenge I would suspect. the combo of Moar with Aaron Jones in the right channel and Epps with Giliano Wijnaldum in the left created more success that the starting ones where the two flank mid were flip-flopped.
    Ayuk has not shown the versatility that the Union seem to want in their flank attackers. He will spend the year in Sweden. If he develops that versatility there, great. If not, and he has success, he may well be sold for profit. I know nothing about the Swedish League and how it plays.
    Ilsinho has a year or two at most. Then there’s Herbers, with Epps.
    Pontius is in an option year this year. Picault may or may not succeed in MLS. So far I have not seen speed to match the David Accams, Darin Mattocks, Dominic Oduros, etc., but the man has had few minutes and the Union do not play for speed into wide-open green space on the counter. Too soon to judge.

    And Bedoya may be better on the flank than in the middle, if a better ACM can be acquired or developed.
    Perhaps, if Adam Najem is too small to succeed in the central channel in MLS, he might be a candidate for flank play, but that MLS judgment is a long way from being tried voluntarily. Involuntarily, we are one bad injury to Bedoya away from having to try it.
    Ayuk seems surplus to requirements.

    • I enjoy your take on this, and agree with almost everything. Here’s the but…the Najem being too small is irrelevant. See Acosta last week and Giovinco. I’m not saying Najem is as good as they are, just his size is about the same.

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