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Who is Amobi Okugo and How Did He Get Here?

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On Dec. 8, 2014, Orlando City SC acquired Amobi Okugo in a trade from the Philadelphia Union. Who is the defensive midfielder, where has he been, and how did he land in the City Beautiful?

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Born to Nigerian parents Chris and Chinyere Okugo on March 3, 1991, Amobi Chidubem Okugo grew up admiring and emulating players like Nwankwo Kanu, Michael Essien and Makelele while growing up in Sacramento, CA.

At a young age, it was evident Okugo had plenty of talent in his own right, earning six caps at IMG Academy for the U-17s in 2007. As a Parade All American in 2008, Okugo scored the only goal for the USA U-18s at the 2008 Lisbon Tournament.

Following a second Parade All American selection and a No. 1 ranking from Top Drawer Soccer in 2009, Okugo wasted no time making his impact felt on a UCLA Bruins team that finished 12-4-4 by being named the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year, as well as earning consensus National All-Freshman honors.

After just one season in the collegiate ranks, Okugo signed on with Generation Adidas and entered the 2010 MLS draft. The Philadelphia Union ensured his name was called early, making him the sixth overall selection and immediately working him into their system.

His first year with the Union saw Okugo appear in 11 MLS games, with a cap in the U.S. Open Cup to boot. He would see more MLS play in 2011 with 15 appearances, but it was in 2012 when Okugo really began to make an impact, appearing in 27 league games while solidifying his role as an integral part of the team.

In 2013 we began to see a more aggressive Okugo, working hard in the box for positioning and attacking the net with confidence.

After finishing 2013 with three goals for Philadelphia, Okugo continued to show flashes of brilliance when moving into the box in 2014, including this point-saving strike against FC Dallas on July 4 of that year.

His motor is what endeared him to many Union fans, seemingly running nonstop until the final whistle. That kind of effort is welcome on any team, and can yield game-winning chances like this one against the Chicago Fire on Oct. 2, 2014.

Expected to command one of the CDM slots in Adrian Heath's 4-2-3-1 formation, Okugo finds himself in the unique role of "veteran-youngster" with over 100 MLS appearances at the age of 23. Certainly a positive influence on the pitch for the Lions, it also should be noted Okugo has a track record of carrying himself with class off the pitch as well, serving as a coach to the youth of Philadelphia during his time with the Union.

There is little question Okugo has what it takes to make a significant impact for Orlando City. We'll get our first look at what kind of impact that will be on March 8, when 60,000+ fans #FillTheBowl.