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Red Bulls finalizing move for Uganda youth international Steven Sserwadda

18-year-old midfielder expected to begin at USL level with Red Bulls II

MLS: U.S. Open-New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls appear to be adding another talented young prospect.

According to Kawowo Sports, Kampala Capital City Authority FC attacker Steven Sserwadda “could have played his last game” for the club and “is understood to be headed” to Major League Soccer. After a recent Uganda Cup fixture, the 18-year-old youth international “waved to the fans in a manner that said goodbye to them for now.” He was recently connected to a New York move in April.

Clive Kyazze of Football256 has further details, reporting that Sserwadda is joining the Red Bulls for “an undisclosed fee” on a “two-year deal.” His contract with KCCA FC was set to expire at the end of the year. As expected, he is looking to break into the MLS team or “continue with progression on any other side of the Red Bull Group,” which includes Bragantino, Salzburg, and Leipzig. New York assistant coach and Ugandan national team legend Ibrahim Sekagya had an “integral role” in the recruitment process.

Sserwadda is a nifty player, capable of lining up as an advanced midfielder and striker. FootyScout describes him as “dynamic, vertical, daring, and aggressive with the ball at his feet.” His creativity and willingness to push the tempo with forward-thinking attacking is matched by a tenacity and penchant for finding space in the opponent’s box.

The Red Bulls reportedly scouted the teenager at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. Sserwadda put in a star performance during the competition, leading the Hippos to a second-place finish. He scored two goals in the group stage and was a constantly buzzing nuisance leading up to the final.

Sserwadda joined KCCAA in January of 2018 at 16 years old after spending time in the Ugandan club’s academy. He’s won the Ugandan Premier League, Uganda Cup, and CECAFA Clubs Cup, as well as claiming the CECAFA U-20 championship at the international level. Despite reportedly struggling with the transition to the first team due to “juggling school and soccer,” his recent performances indicate a player deserving of a transfer to a bigger league.

Having established the USL Championship reserve team as a pathway to MLS for domestic talent, the club is now attempting to revive the somewhat dormant international recruitment process. For years, the Red Bulls attempted to develop players from Africa and South America, emulating the relationship between Liefering and Salzburg. While most of those acquisitions disappeared back into the ether, transforming New York into a preferred Western Hemisphere destination for upwardly mobile footballers should remain a priority.