Gale Agbossoumonde to Djurgardens IF

Updated: January 15, 2011, 6:36 PM ET
By Leander Schaerlaeckens | ESPN.com

Gale Agbossoumonde, a 19-year-old central defender on the U-20 U.S. national team, has joined Swedish club Djurgardens IF.

Agbossoumonde is owned by Traffic Sports, a Brazilian company which buys the rights to soccer players as investments. He will travel to Sweden on Saturday after concluding a 12-day training camp with the U-20 side in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Initially, Agbossoumonde will join the Stockholm-based club on a two-week trial, with the understanding it will turn into a 6- or 12-month loan, Agbossoumonde's agent Aaron Maines told ESPN.com. The deal will include an option for Djurgardens to buy the player outright, Maines said.

The move had previously been reported as a trial.

"I can confirm that he is coming to train with us," Djurgardens spokesman Jonas Riedel said.

The club had no comment on a possible loan and transfer, citing club policy not to comment on ongoing negotiations.

"We're all optimistic but it's not something that's done and agreed upon already," Maines said.

"They'll keep him if they see him as their starting center back," said Maines. "They need some help right now and will keep him if he doesn't turn out to be a project. They're looking for a center back to step into their starting eleven and they think Gale is that person."

The move ends a tumultuous 2010 for Agbossoumonde. His six-month loan to Portuguese club Braga ended without any agreement. He was subsequently loaned to Traffic-controlled Estoril, which plays in the Portuguese second division, but he was not registered in time to be eligible to play in competitive games. The club's depth limited Agbossoumonde's repetitions in practice, causing him to fall out of shape.

In an interview with ESPN.com in November, Agbossoumonde said he was dealing with anxiety and disillusionment.

"This move was extremely important for his development," U-20 coach Thomas Rongen said. "I put a lot of pressure on [his agents] and on Traffic, to say, 'You have to put this player in a good environment or he might not make the qualifying team [for the U-20 World Cup].' They were very proactive.

"Djurgardens' [incoming] head coach came to see him [in Florida] and saw him play twice. Based on how [Agbossoumonde] played and how excited the head coach was, I got the impression that if he keeps it up they could make the move permanent. The coach is very impressed by him. I think it's an ideal situation."

Maines said Djurgardens' incoming coach has been pursuing Agbossoumonde for some time

"[Agbossoumonde's] excited about it," Maines said. "There's a comfort level. I think this is a step in the right direction from where we've been. It's important for him to be playing on a weekly basis right now."

Agbossoumonde recently made his debut for the senior U.S. national team, coming on as an 87th-minute substitute against South Africa in a Nov. 17 friendly.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at leander.espn@gmail.com.

Leander Schaerlaeckens

Contributing writer, ESPN.com
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a contributing writer for ESPN.com. He has previously written for The Guardian, The Washington Times and UPI.