York 9 FC makes Swedish striker Simon Adjei its first international signing

TORONTO — Simon Karlsson Adjei, a Swedish striker with Ghanaian roots, is York 9 FC’s first international signing.The 25-year-old has ties to York 9 head coach Jim Brennan, having played for him with Aurora FC in League 1 Ontario. Adjei had 19 goals in 19 games in 2016 to rank second in the league.“You kind of knew right away that the kid had something … he was a great talent,” said Brennan.“You just knew he’s got to go back to Europe. Obviously I kept a tab on him. We knew the CPL was coming down the line and I flew over to go watch him in Sweden this year. He scored 30 goals during the season so the guy can score … we’re lucky we got him.”Born in Sweden to a Ghanaian father and Swedish mother, Adjei most recently played for Assyriska IK in a lower Swedish league.The seven-team Canadian Premier League is set to kick off its inaugural season in April.York, which will play out of north Toronto, will be joined by HFX Wanderers FC (Halifax), Forge FC (Hamilton), Valour FC (Winnipeg), FC Edmonton, Cavalry FC (Calgary) and Pacific FC (Victoria).“I’m super-excited,” said Adjei. “This will be a great year, I’m sure.”Adjei believes the time is right for him to join the new league.“For me to come in now with my confidence and my experience, especially confidence from the year that I had in Sweden, I think it’s perfect timing for me to be a part of history.” Adjei originally came to Canada after an intermediary contacted Brennan and said the player wanted a change in lifestyle.“We had him here for a year. He’s a good kid, great to work with,” said Brennan, a Canada Soccer Hall of Famer.Brennan said York 9 beat several Swedish first division teams in signing Adjei this time.“It’s not often you find a guy that’s as clinical as he is. He sure does know how to find the back of the net. He’s a big man — he’s 6-3 — a good target, he’s got good pace, great feet.”Adjei said his time in Canada helped him grow.“As I always say, the more you grow outside the field, the more you will automatically grow on the field as well,” he said. The CPL has yet to divulge its salary cap. Commissioner David Clanachan has said while clubs can sign a maximum of seven international players, the starting roster must be more than half Canadian (six players).———Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter.Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press read more