Highly rated 19-year-old Ulwithu Makhania will be the fourth South African to play in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the new season after joining the Philadelphia Union from Stellenbosch on Tuesday.
Makhania, who had an impressive campaign in 2022/23, joins Bongokohli Hlongwan (Minnesota United), Ngapolo Bloom (St Louis City) and Catlego Netsappling (FC Dallas) in a star-studded MLS that also includes Lionel Messi, who is on the books of Inter Miami.
“As a club, we are incredibly proud to see Olwethu join the Philadelphia Union and have no doubt that he will find great success in his time abroad. Stellenbosch FC has been committed to providing opportunities for young players to excel. their talents and towards creating a clear path for them to build successful career paths as professional players.
“Seeing a young player like Olwethu use that platform to earn a transfer to one of the most competitive leagues in the world is a source of great pride for the club, and we hope it will serve as an inspiration to others looking to follow in his footsteps.”
Makhnia’s contract with the federation will run through the 2025 MLS season with a club option through 2027. The SA youth international will be added to the federation’s active roster after receiving his international transfer certificate and P1 visa and occupies a U-22 initiative and international roster slot.
“We are excited to sign Olwethu as the club’s first Under-22 initiative signing. In a short period of time, he has risen from second team player at his club, to Defensive Rookie of the Year award at DStv Premier League.
Another player who could head to the MLS is Mamelodi Sundowns player Cassius Melola, after the club confirmed that it had received an offer from an unnamed club.