It appears Steven Sserwadda is finally coming to the United States.
According to the club’s official website, KCCA FC has “finalized an agreement” with the New York Red Bulls. While the transfer fee is “undisclosed,” the Ugandan side retains a 10% sell-on fee for any future move outside of Major League Soccer. His contract was previously reported to be a two-year deal, with the intention of continuing “on any other side of the Red Bull Group.” New York assistant coach and Uganda national team legend Ibrahim Sekagya is said to have played an “integral role” in his recruitment.
Sserwadda is a highly decorated player, having won several trophies at the club and international level. The 18-year-old responded to the move on social media platform Twitter, thanking the “coaches, fellow players, staff members, and fans” for their contributions. He was signed by KCCA in January of 2018 after several years in the academy. Transitioning to the first team was reportedly a struggle due to his academic responsibilities, presumably no longer an issue after this transfer.
Sserwadda is viewed as something of a young star with the Uganda national team set-up and was scouted at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations while leading the Hippos to a second-place finish. The Red Bulls were “impressed with his creative prowess,” which included two goals. He is currently competing with the U-23 team at the CECAFA U-23 Challenge Cup but suffered a minor injury in the first match.
With this signing, the Red Bulls (or presumably the USL reserve team) are adding an up-tempo advanced player fitting the archetypes of Gerhard Struber’s attacking tactics. According to FootyScout, Sserwadda is “dynamic, vertical, daring, and aggressive midfielder with the ball at his feet,” best suited to a system in which he can “break free.” He is a similarly dangerous in the final third, stepping into the box to clean up loose balls or win the occasional cross.
The Red Bulls are decidedly in the midst of a transition year, attempting to shift tactics and add more talent. In a recent interview, head of sport Kevin Thelwell emphasized the goals of “developing young players and giving them opportunities at a higher level.” In this sense, Sserwadda would be the ideal, low risk addition: a relatively unknown prospect that is brimming with potential and could experience exponential growth. Salzburg and Liefering have built their reputations on these off-the-radar scouting pulls, with New York looking to establish a similar set-up within the restrictive confines of Major League Soccer.