SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has acquired S.L. Benfica midfielder Yannick Djalo on loan for the 2014 season pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and international transfer certificate. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Djalo, 27, is a speedy winger with seven years of experience in Portugal’s first division and one in France’s Ligue 1. He has a goal to his credit in UEFA Champions League play and won multiple cups with Sporting Lisbon during his five full seasons there.
“We’re excited to announce the signing of Yannick,” said Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson. “There was a lot of work and time spent scouting in the offseason, and we feel like we have a very good player in Yannick. He adds a versatile, attacking dimension to our team. He can operate as an attacking midfielder, but also has the pace to get behind defenders.”
Born in Guinea-Bissau, Djalo moved to Lisbon and began his career in Sporting Lisbon’s renowned youth academy, working his way up to the first team for the start of the 2006-07 season. After making his Portuguese league debut on Sept. 16, 2006, Djalo went on to score 31 goals in 146 matches in all competitions for Sporting. He helped them win Portuguese Cups in 2006-07 and 2007-08 as well as Portuguese SuperCups in 2007 and 2008. During the 2008 SuperCup, Djalo scored both of Sporting’s goals in a 2-0 win against FC Porto.
Djalo joins the Earthquakes with 20 games of UEFA Champions League under his belt. He made his first UCL appearance in group play against Inter Milan of Italy on Sept. 12, 2006 at the age of 20. In 2008-09, he scored the game-winner in Sporting’s final group match against FC Basel to ensure passage to the Round of 16 where they were ousted by German giant Bayern Munich. In addition to UCL experience, Djalo also appeared in 17 Europa Cup matches for Sporting.
“I’m excited to bring in a player of Yannick’s quality. His attacking flare and experience should be a welcome addition to the team,” said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle.
Djalo left Sporting in the middle of the 2011-12 season and signed with Benfica on January 31, 2012. He went on to play in five games for Benfica before a loan deal was reached sending him to Toulouse FC in France for the 2012-13 campaign. While in France, Djalo saw action in 20 games and scored in a Coupe de la Ligue match.
Internationally, Djalo has one cap for Portugal’s national team. He also represented their youth squads at all levels, including three appearances at the 2007 U-21 European Championship.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – San Jose Earthquakes acquire M Yannick Djalo on loan from Benfica (Portugal).
Weight: 140 lbs.
Born: May 5, 1986 in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal
Last Club: Benfica