Philadelphia Union acquire FIFA World Cup veteran goalkeeper in Algerian Rais Mbolhi
Philadelphia Union today announced that the club has acquired Algerian international and World Cup veteran goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi. Mbolhi, 28, recently led Algeria to the knockout round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the first time in his country’s history. His 11 save performance in the round of 16 against eventual champion Germany helped push the game into overtime. Though Algeria eventually lost 2-1, Mbolhi earned Man of the Match honors. The goalkeeper will be eligible to play for the Union upon receipt of his ITC. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
A citizen of both France and Algeria, Mbolhi earned call-ups to the French U-17 and U-18 National Teams before making his debut for Algeria in 2010. He starred for Algeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, keeping a clean sheet in his debut against England. Mbohli was also in net against the United States, the game in which Landon Donovan's famous goal in the 91st minute sent the United States to the knockout stage. That goal was the lone goal conceded by Mbohli in the tournament, though Algeria unfortunately did not advance past the group stage.
Mbohli comes to the Union from CSKA Sofia, one of the top teams in the Bulgarian A Football Group. He began his career in France with Marseille and made stops in Greece and Japan before signing on with Slavia Sofia in Bulgaria in 2009, where he garnered the League’s Best Goalkeeper honors. In 2010, Mbolhi was loaned to CSKA Sofia. Over the next three seasons he made appearances for Krylia Sovetov in Russia and Gazelec Ajaccio in Corsica before returning to CSKA Sofia in 2013.
Additionally, the Union have also waived goalkeeper Brian Holt.
Player: Rais Mbolhi
Pronunction: Rye-ees M-Bowl-e
Weight: 176 lbs
Date of Birth: April 25, 1986
Hometown: Bordj Bou Arreridj, Algeria
Birthplace: Paris, France
Last Club: CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)