Hartford Sign 2022 USL Young Player of the Year in "Biggest Signing of the Offseason"
Michee Ngalina will return to the USL Championship after one year abroad, bringing with him more than 30 proffesional goals at just 23 years old.
Three weeks ago, Rhode Island FC announced the signing of 2023 USL Championship Player of the Year Albert Dikwa.
Temporarily outshone by one of the biggest-name signings of the USL Championship offseason to date, Hartford didn’t take a back seat to their newly-formed regional rivals for long — They announced today the signing of Congolese winger Michee Ngalina, who’s illustrious young pedigree includes the Championship’s 2022 Young Player of the Year Honor.
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“The significance of Michee signing with this team cannot be understated,” Hartford Head Coach Brendan Burke said. “He is our biggest signing of the offseason. Michee is a great person and an extremely gifted player with a proven track record in this league.”
His breakout 2022 campaign came under Burke in Colorado, a team from which a large core of Hartford’s 2024 roster is beginning to form — Triston Hodge, Deshane Beckford and Romario Williams were all part of Burke’s 2022 team that brought the Switchbacks to Western Conference Final for the first time ever. Ngalina started and went the distance in all but two of the club’s 37 games that season, contributing 14 goals and nine assists across all competitions, including a brace in a 2-1 extra time win over Sacramento Republic in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
His return to the USL Championship in 2024 marks his sixth year in the league, and third time working under Burke. The Congolese native began his time stateside after arriving as part of the elite Montverde Academy, where he was first signed in 2018 by Burke’s Bethlehem Steel (Now Philadelphia Union II of MLS Next Pro).
Ngalina made quick work of the transition to professional life, scoring 12 goals and four assists in his first two seasons, making the USL’s “20 under 20” list both years and eventually getting the call from the Philadelphia Union’s first team in Major League Soccer.
After a brief stint in America’s top flight that also involved a pair of appearances with Los Angeles FC in 2021, the 23-year-old returned to the USL, where he scored 22 goals in two seasons with the Switchbacks in 2021 and 2022.
Now, after a brief pit stop abroad with with Turkish second division club Göztepe Spor Kulübü and Norwegian top flight club FK Haugesund, one of the USL Championship’s most promising young talents is back, bringing with him 37 goals and 24 assists in all competitions in his already-illustrious professional career.