Philadelphia Union have announced that midfielder Eric Ayuk will be on loan to Jönköpings Södra IF in Sweden for the remainder of the 2017 campaign. The club returned to the Swedish top division in 2016 after earning promotion. The transaction is pending the receipt of Ayuk’s International Transfer Certificate.
“This move is a terrific opportunity for Eric to receive valuable first team playing time, and at a high level in Sweden’s topflight,” said Earnie Stewart, Union Sporting Director. “We believe in Eric’s talent and the experience he will gain in the Allsvenskan will be helpful for his development.”
Ayuk, who remains under contract with the Union through 2018, joined Philadelphia on March 3, 2015 and became the second youngest player in club history to score a goal, opening up his account in Columbus on April 25, 2015 at 18 years, 67 days. Ayuk is also the youngest player in Union history to complete a game (May 2, 2015 vs. Toronto FC) and record an assist (April 11, 2015 vs. NYCFC). In his Union career, he has played in 29 games, started 15 and scored two goals with two assists.
The 20-year-old played a key role in the Union’s run to the 2015 U.S. Open Cup Final, scoring two vital goals when the Union were playing a man down in each game. Ayuk equalized in the 55th minute against D.C. United in the Round of 16, a game the Union won 2-1 in regulation. The following round, Ayuk put the Union ahead 1-0 in the 56th minute, on the road against New York Red Bulls. The Union went on to win in penalties.
In 2016, Ayuk spent time with Philadelphia Union’s USL Affiliate Bethlehem Steel FC. In 17 appearances Ayuk racked up 1,442 minutes while recording three goals, with seven points and notching an assist. Ayuk started one match for the Union last season in the club’s regular season finale at home against New York Red Bulls.
In 2017, Ayuk has appeared for Cameroon’s youth teams, most recently for their U-20s for the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. He scored a goal in the team's Group Stage opener at the tournament as part of a 3-1 loss against South Africa (February 27, 2017) and scored again in their second match, a 4-1 win over Sudan (March 2, 2017).
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union loan midfielder Eric Ayuk to Jönköpings Södra IF for the duration of the 2017 MLS season on April 4, 2017. Ayuk will no longer occupy an international roster spot.