KENYA BROWN - Saturday, July 13, 2019
Haji Wright will be playing his soccer in the Netherlands this coming season as it was announced on Friday that he has signed for Dutch Eredivisie team VVV-Venlo from Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga.
According to Venlo, the forward has signed on for one year and the team have option for the following year.
After making inroads with Schalke's youth team, he was promoted to the first team prior to the end of the 2016-2017 Bundesliga season. He was named to the bench for the Royal Blues in their game against Ingolstadt in May 2017.
However, the 21-year-old found breaking into the starting line-up difficult and was sent out on loan to 2.Bundesliga team Sandhausen during the 2017-2018 season in order to gain first team experience. He would wind up only scoring a single goal for the team out of 15 appearances.
Upon his return to Schalke, the California native still found it hard to crack the starting 11, but in November 2018, he found his way onto the field as he came off the bench in their game against Nurnberg. He then went on to score his first goal for Schalke in December in a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Despite the goal and playing for the first team, Wright would spend most of his time playing for the reserves over the season.
Now, moving to the Eredivisie to play for Venlo should give the towering forward plenty of opportunities to see game time and further develop.
It's an opportunity that Wright relishes as he hopes to further his career in Europe.
"Years ago I set my sights on a successful career in Europe. After a number of seasons in Germany, I now hope to be important for VVV-Venlo. Through my goals and with my drive I want to apply them to the team. The conversations with the people from this club gave me the right feeling to make this switch. I look forward to playing in the premier league for VVV-Venlo," said Wright in a statement on the Venlo website.
Meanwhile, Venlo technical director Stan Valckx believes they have found a quality player that will fit well within the team.
"Haji is an excellent player who will give our vanguard even more body. Speed, duel power and very focused. We are happy and grateful that we came out with Schalke and that this player has chosen our club, because I am convinced that he is an added value for our selection with his input and commitment," he said.
Wright will be the third American to suit up for Venlo following Earnie Stewart and Gedion Zelalem. Stewart was also the team's technical director.