Philadelphia Union announced on Monday that it has acquired defender Steven Vitoria via loan from Benfica of Portugal’s Primeira Liga, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. The loan will be for the duration of the 2015 MLS Regular Season with an option to buy at year’s end. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’re excited to bring Steven in and feel he is an excellent fit for the club,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “He has the ability and experience to make an instant impact for us and is a player we’re expecting big things from.”
Vitoria just turned 28 in January and has spent the past 18 months with Benfica. A 6-foot-5 center back, Vitoria was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but has spent his entire professional career playing in Portugal. He represented Portugal at the youth level at the 2006 UEFA U19s Championship and at the 2007 FIFA U20s World Cup.
“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to join Philadelphia Union,” Vitoria said. “I’m ready to come in and contribute any way I can to help this club win games.”
At 18 years old, Vitoria signed with FC Porto as a youth, and had loan stints at Tourizense, Olhanense and Covilha while with the club. In 2010, he signed with fellow Portuguese squad Estoril and helped the team earn promotion into Primeira Liga by winning the second division title during the 2011-12 season. The following year, he scored 11 goals and helped qualify Estoril for Europa League. He then signed with Benfica during that offseason in June 2013.
Name: Steven Vitoria
Last Club: Benfica
Dual Nationality: Portugal and Canada.
Transaction: Loaned from Benfica of Primeira Liga