Oguchi Onyewu

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Oguchi Onyewu
Oguchi Onyewu at media roundtable during World Cup 2010-06-17.JPG
Onyewu in 2010
Personal information
Full name Oguchialu Chijioke Onyewu[1]
Date of birth (1982-05-13) May 13, 1982 (age 31)
Place of birth Washington, D.C., United States
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current club Sheffield Wednesday
Number 8
Youth career
1999 IMG Soccer Academy
2000–2001 Clemson Tigers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2004 Metz 3 (0)
2003 La Louvière (loan) 24 (1)
2004–2009 Standard Liège 139 (11)
2007 Newcastle United (loan) 11 (0)
2009–2011 Milan 0 (0)
2011 Twente (loan) 8 (0)
2011–2013 Sporting CP 17 (4)
2012–2013 Málaga (loan) 2 (0)
2013–2014 Queens Park Rangers 0 (0)
2014– Sheffield Wednesday 16 (0)
National team
1999 United States U17 5 (2)
2001 United States U20 4 (0)
2004– United States 69 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 April 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 05 March 2014

Oguchialu Chijioke "Oguchi" Onyewu (born May 13, 1982) is an American football central defender who currently plays for Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Background[edit]

Onyewu's parents moved to the United States from Nigeria to study in Washington, D.C. They are ethnic Igbo people of Nigeria. Onyewu has two brothers, Uche and Nonye, and two sisters, Chi-Chi and Ogechi. Growing up in Silver Spring and later Olney, Maryland, Onyewu attended St. Andrew Apostle School and Sherwood High School before enrolling in the U.S. residency program in Bradenton, Florida.[3] He then returned to Sherwood to graduate and went on to play soccer for two years at Clemson. He also holds Belgian citizenship.[4] He speaks English, French, Italian and Portuguese.[5] Onyewu is a practising Catholic.[6]

At 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) and 210 lb (95 kg), Onyewu is the second-tallest outfield player in U.S. team history (after Omar Gonzalez).[7]

Club career[edit]

Onyewu played two years of college soccer at Clemson University, and moved to Europe in 2002, signing with Metz of Ligue 2 in France. In 2003, he was loaned out to La Louvière in Belgium, and to Standard Liège a year later. The move to Liège was made permanent for the 2004–05 season. After the season, he was named to the Belgian league's Best XI as well as Foreign Player of the Year for 2005.

On December 26, 2006, Onyewu was voted U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. He was the first defender to earn the award since Alexi Lalas in 1995. Having been the subject of many transfer rumors regarding clubs throughout Europe, Onyewu finally completed a loan deal with Newcastle United on January 30, 2007, covering the remainder of the 2006–07 season. He made his debut for Newcastle against Fulham on February 3, 2007,[8] and his home debut a week later, alongside Titus Bramble, in a 2–1 victory over Liverpool. The two formed an ill-fated partnership, making a number of costly mistakes which was ultimately to cost Onyewu his place. Following the arrival of new manager Sam Allardyce, Onyewu fell out of favor, and Newcastle decided not to make the loan deal permanent.[9] He returned to Standard, and his play continued to improve. He made his 100th Belgian First Division appearance for Standard Liège on March 14, 2008, against Germinal Beerschot, and was an integral part of the club as they went on a 29-match unbeaten streak to win the 2007–08 Belgian First Division. After the season he was named to the Belgian league Best XI for the second time. His strong form continued during the 2008–09 season. He led the Standard defense to a second consecutive Belgian league title. Standard was drawn with Anderlecht at season's end, and Standard won a two-legged playoff for the championship.

A.C. Milan[edit]

Onyewu signed a three-year contract with Milan on July 7, 2009, but never played a league game in his year and a half stint at the club.[10][11] He made his Milan debut on July 22, coming on as a substitute for Alessandro Nesta in a loss to Club América in the World Football Challenge.[12] He made his competitive debut on September 30, again relieving Nesta in a Champions League loss to Zürich at San Siro.[13] Onyewu missed all the 2009–10 season – appearing in only one Champions League match – due a knee injury suffered while on national team duty. At the end of the season, on May 17, 2010, it was announced that Onyewu's contract with Milan was extended by one season, keeping him under contract with the club until the end of the 2012–13 season; upon Onyewu's request, the one-year extension included no salary.[14][15]

On November 5, 2010; Onyewu made international headlines when he and teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović engaged in a fight during training,[16] prior to a league match against Bari. It was reported that Onyewu suffered a reckless tackle from Ibrahimović, causing Onyewu to confront him. The two were then separated by team mates, though the club reported he and Ibrahimović have made up for their fight.[17]

Twente (loan)[edit]

Onyewu left Milan on January 11, 2011, to join Dutch Eredivisie champions Twente on loan for the remainder of the season.[18][19]

Sporting[edit]

On June 28, 2011, Oguchi joined Sporting CP on a free transfer signing a three-year deal from A.C. Milan.[20] At the club he became a first choice pick for Sporting's defence alongside World Cup winner Ânderson Polga who he formed a solid partnership with. He helped the club to a semi final of the 2011-12 Europa League in his debut season with the club.

Málaga[edit]

On August 31, 2012, during the last hours of the transfer window, Onuyewu was signed on loan by La Liga outfit Málaga CF, with an option to buy after the season.[21] He made his debut for Málaga on October 24, 2012, playing the last minute in a 1–0 home win against his former club AC Milan, in the Champions league group stage. One week later, on October 31, he started his first official match for Málaga and went on scoring in a 4–3 away win against CP Cacereño in the Copa del Rey. Onyewu scored his second goal for Malaga in stoppage time against Eibar in Copa del Rey on December 18, 2012 to earn his side a draw.

Termination of Sporting contract[edit]

On August 30, 2013 Sporting announced the termination of Onyewu's contract by mutual consent.[22]

Queens Park Rangers[edit]

On October 23, 2013 Onyewu was signed by Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer.[23] He was an unused substitute on six occasions and failed to make an appearance for the club.

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

On January 11, 2014 he joined Sheffield Wednesday until the end of the season.[24]

Racism controversy[edit]

Onyewu dealt with racism during his time in Belgium, even having been punched and shouted at by racist fans while playing for Standard Liège.[25] The most well-publicized incident occurred in the 2008–09 Championship playoff when Anderlecht defender Jelle Van Damme, according to Onyewu, allegedly repeatedly called him a "dirty ape,"[26] even after Onyewu relayed the information to the referees.[27] Van Damme denied the accusations following the match and in return said that Onyewu himself taunted him in a racist way by calling him "dirty Flemish."[26] Approximately two weeks later, on June 2, 2009, it was announced by Onyewu's lawyer that he was suing Van Damme in an effort to end on-field racism in European football.[28] The case was withdrawn in February 2011 after a meeting between the two players when Van Damme apologised for any offence he may have given.[29]

International career[edit]

Onyewu was a mainstay on the United States national team for the 2006 and 2010 World Cup cycles. Prior to this, he also represented the U.S. at various youth levels, including at the 2001 World Youth Championship. He made his first appearance for the senior national team on October 13, 2004, against Panama.

Onyewu scored his first international goal in the 2005 Gold Cup, nodding home the extra time winner in the semifinal against Honduras, and was later named to the tournament Best XI.

Oguchi played for the U.S. in the 2006 World Cup, and started in all three United States games. Just before halftime of the third and final group stage match against Ghana, Onyewu conceded a penalty from which Ghana scored, and the U.S. were eliminated with the resultant 2–1 defeat.[30][31]

During the 2009 Confederations Cup, Onyewu was paired with Jay DeMerit due to the injury of his normal partner, Carlos Bocanegra, who was unable to play in the group stage. Onyewu played well against Egypt, helping lead the U.S. to a 3–0 win that earned them a berth in the semifinals. He also had a standout performance in the 2–0 semifinal victory over Spain.

In a World Cup qualifier draw against Costa Rica on October 14, 2009, Onyewu suffered a patellar tendon rupture, forcing him to miss the rest of qualifying.[32]

During the 2010 World Cup, Onyewu started and played the full 90 minutes in the United States' first group match against England on June 12. During the second group match against Slovenia on June 18, he got his second start but was subbed out in the 80th minute. He did not play in the third group match against Algeria on June 23, nor did he play during their second round meeting against Ghana on June 26.

International goals[edit]

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. July 21, 2005 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, US  Honduras 2 – 1 2–1 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup
2. June 2, 2007 Spartan Stadium, San Jose, US  China PR 4 – 1 4–1 Friendly
3. February 6, 2008 Reliant Stadium, Houston, US  Mexico 1 – 0 2–2 Friendly
4. March 26, 2008 Wisla Stadium, Krakow, Poland  Poland 2 – 0 3–0 Friendly
5. October 11, 2008 RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., US  Cuba 6 – 1 6–1 Q 2010 World Cup
6. October 9, 2010 Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, US  Poland 2 – 1 2–2 Friendly

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of February 3, 2014
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2002–03 Metz Ligue 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Belgium League Belgian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04 La Louvière Belgian Pro League 24 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 1
2004–05 Standard Liège 30 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 3
2005–06 29 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 29 2
2006–07 15 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 19 1
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006–07 Newcastle United Premier League 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 0
Belgium League Belgian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2007–08 Standard Liège Belgian Pro League 33 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 33 2
2008–09 32 3 0 0 0 0 8 1 40 4
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2009–10 Milan Serie A 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
2010–11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Total
2010–11 Twente Eredivisie 8 0 1 0 0 0 5 0 14 0
Portugal League Taça de Portugal Taça da Liga Europe Total
2011–12 Sporting CP Primeira Liga 17 4 4 0 3 1 5 0 28 5
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
2012–13 Málaga La Liga 2 0 4 2 0 0 3 0 9 2
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2013-14 Queens Park Rangers Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2013-14 Sheffield Wednesday Championship 16 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 17 1
Total France 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Belgium 163 12 2 0 0 0 10 1 175 13
England 27 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 28 1
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Netherlands 8 0 1 0 0 0 5 0 14 0
Portugal 17 4 4 0 3 1 5 0 29 5
Spain 2 0 4 2 0 0 3 0 9 2
Career total 220 16 11 3 3 1 24 1 259 21

International[edit]

As of February 3, 2014.
National team Year Apps Goals
United States
2004 2 0
2005 9 1
2006 6 0
2007 11 1
2008 10 3
2009 13 0
2010 7 1
2011 4 0
2012 5 0
2013 1 0
2014 0 0
Total 68 6

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2007). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2007–08. Mainstream Publishing. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-84596-246-3. 
  2. ^ "Málaga Club de Futbol". Malagacf.com. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ Goff, Steven (April 11, 2006). "Onyewu Stands Out in Belgium". The Washington Post (Liège, Belgium). p. E01. 
  4. ^ Courtney, Chris (July 14, 2008). "Belgian citizenship makes Onyewu a more appealing transfer target in Europe". Soccer Times. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Champions League adventure for Malaga's Oguchi Onyewu"
  6. ^ Marcus, Jeffrey (August 21, 2009). "Q. & A. With A.C. Milan’s Oguchi Onyewu". The New York Times (New York City, New York). p. E01. 
  7. ^ Whiteside, Kelly (August 16, 2005). "'Gooch' a big deal for U.S. soccer team". USA Today (Hartford, Connecticut: Gannett Company). 
  8. ^ "Fulham vs Newcastle United in FA Premier League 2006/2007". Football-Lineups.com. Craven Cottage, London. February 3, 2007. 
  9. ^ Livie, Alex (May 16, 2007). "Bramble Heads Magpies Cull". Sky Sports (BSkyB). Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. 
  10. ^ Landolina, Salvatore (July 7, 2009). "OFFICIAL: Milan Sign Oguchi Onyewu". Goal.com. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Onyewu inks pact with AC Milan". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. July 7, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  12. ^ Match report: AC Milan 1 – 2 América. ESPN. July 22, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  13. ^ Shock at the San Siro. ESPN. October 1, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Oguchi Onyewu tells Milan he will play for free after injury". The Guardian (London). Press Association. May 17, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ "It's not about the money – AC Milan star to play for free". BBC Sport. May 17, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  16. ^ Marcus, Jeffrey (November 5, 2010). "Onyewu and Ibrahimovic Come to Blows at Milan Practice". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Fight Between Zlatan Ibrahimovic And Oguchi Onyewu Forces Milan To Abandon Training Session". Goal.com. November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2010. 
  18. ^ "FC Twente huurt Oguchi Onyewu van AC Milan". fctwente.nl (in Dutch) (Football Club Twente). January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Onyewu joins Twente on loan". ESPNsoccernet (ESPN). January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Leões contratam Oguchi Onyewu". A Bola (abola.pt). June 28, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  21. ^ El central Onyewu, cuarta incorporación blanquiazul (Center back Onyewu, fourth white-and-blue incorporation) (Spanish)
  22. ^ "Sporting Clube de Portugal". Sporting.pt. August 29, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  23. ^ "USA Defender Signs". Queens Park Rangers F.C. 
  24. ^ "Oguchi Onyewu joins Sheffield Wednesday". BBC Sport. January 11, 2014. 
  25. ^ Whiteside, Kelly; Contributor: Johnnie Whitehead (June 2, 2006). "Concerns raised over racism during Cup". USA Today. Retrieved February 17, 2008. 
  26. ^ a b Seltzer, Greg (May 22, 2009). "S365 Exclusive: No Onyewu Slur Look Pending". Soccer365.com. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  27. ^ Adubato, Michael (May 22, 2009). "Onyewu: We'll Make Liege Proud". Yanks-Abroad.com. Retrieved May 22, 2009. "I almost ended up fighting him (Van Damme). He called me a monkey several times. The league has these anti-racism campaigns, but when I told the referee what Van Damme was saying, he chose not to do anything about it. I also told the journalists after the game last night about this." 
  28. ^ "U.S.' Onyewu sues over alleged racist slur". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. June 2, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Oguchi Onyewu retire sa plainte contre Jelle Van Damme (Oguchi Onyewu withdraws his complaint against Jelle Van Damme)". DH Sports. February 17, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2012.  (French)
  30. ^ "Second wind lifts Ghana". Financial Times. June 22, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2006. 
  31. ^ "Ghana 2–1 USA". BBC Sport. June 22, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2006. 
  32. ^ White, Joseph (October 15, 2009). "Onyewu out 3–4 months with torn knee tendon". Google News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  33. ^ "All-America Awards: Div I (2001)". NSCAA. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 

External links[edit]