Sunny photo
Erin Rodgers

Real Salt Lake Signs Nigerian MF Sunday Stephen Obayan

SANDY, Utah (Thursday, January 21, 2016) – Real Salt Lake announced the signing of Nigerian MF Sunday “Sunny” Stephen Obayan on Thursday, pending visa approval and receipt of his ITC.  Per league and club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Sunny challenges the status quo.  He’s going to force the coaching staff to make tough decisions and fore players to perform at a higher level.  He’s a quality player that we think can contribute right away when he adjusts to the play in America,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel said.  “He’s really active, physically adept and technically sound.  He covers a lot of space and adds to the quality of our midfield.”

Stephen Obayan, 27, comes to Salt Lake after playing for eight different teams in his 11 years as a professional.  He originally signed with Polideportivo Ejido in the Spanish Second Division in 2005, staying until 2007 when he moved up to the first division with Valencia.  During his four seasons there, he also spent time on loan with Osasuna, Real Betis and CD Numancia, where he eventually moved in the 2011 season.  In total, he played 76 matches with Numancia from 2011-2013 and has since played for Bnei Sakhnin in Israel, CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria and Alanyaspor in Turkey.

Although born in Nigeria, he played internationally for Spain at the youth level, capping with the U-19, U-20 and U-21 teams.  Ultimately, he earned his first senior national team cap with Nigeria in 2010.

“I am very happy and excited to join Real Salt Lake, a club with a winning history in MLS,” Stephen Obayan said.  “I look forward to a successful season, challenging myself to meeting my new teammates and the fans in Salt Lake.  I am coming to challenge myself in a competitive league and win titles.”

Real Salt Lake opens training camp on Friday and opens the season in the 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Round, starting in Monterrey, Mexico, against UANL Tigres on Wednesday, February 24, with the return leg at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday, March 2 (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff).

The general public sale for 2016 season tickets is ongoing.  The Rio Tinto Stadium box office is open Mon.-Fri., 10a-6p; more information can be found online at www.RSL.com/Tickets or via the Fan Relations Hotline at 801-727-2702.

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