OKLAHOMA CITY – Energy FC has signed winger Villyan Bijev, pending league and federation approval, Head Coach John Pascarella announced today.
Bijev featured in 17 matches for Sacramento Republic FC in 2020, scoring four goals and recording two assists. He was the only Sacramento player to compete in every match in 2020 and finished second in goals for the Western Conference Quarterfinalists.
“I’m excited to join such a hardworking team,” said Bijev. “It was never easy to play against OKC, you knew you were going into a battle, which is what I expect from us this year. I want to add to the team on the offensive end and also be in a team that’s going to grind, work hard, pummel opponents and do what we need to do to get a win.”
The 28-year-old also previously played for Portland Timbers 2, where he earned USL Championship All-League First Team honors in 2016, after leading the team in goals, as well as leading both his team and the entire league in assists.
“Villyan was someone we were looking for to fit a specific profile out wide,” said Pascarella. “He likes to run in behind the defense, and he’s aggressive when he defends, so that fits well with the personality of our team. He also adds to our group of players who can take guys on and combine well to cause defenders problems.”
At the age of 18, Bijev was invited to trial with Liverpool FC, where he scored five goals in two friendlies with the U-18s. His performances earned him a contract, before going on loan to German side Fortuna Dusseldorf and Norwegian First Division side IK Start. Bijev made the move to T2 in 2016, and has scored 31 goals in all competitions in the United States.
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, but raised in the United States, Bijev is eligible for both nations. He has represented the United States at the U-18 and U-20 levels and Bulgaria at the U-21 level.
Bijev becomes the 20th player on the 2021 roster, joining goalkeepers CJ Cochran, Sam Howard and Kyle Ihn, defenders Robert Coronado, Conor Donovan, Zach Ellis-Hayden, Mitch Osmond and Mueng Sunday, midfielders Arun Basuljevic, Brad Dunwell, Kodai Iida, Hiroki Kurimoto and Charlie Ward, and forwards Jon Brown, Jaime Chavez, Aidan Daniels, Frank Lopez, Groutchov Pierre and Tucker Stephenson as the players currently under contract for OKC in 2021.
Energy FC begins its eighth season on April 24 at home against in-state rivals FC Tulsa with a full schedule announcement anticipated very soon. information regarding Season Seat Memberships and Group Experiences can be found at energyfc.com/tickets. Single match tickets go on sale in April.