HARRISON, N.J. – When the New York Red Bulls announced they had signed defender Babajide Ogunbiyi on Tuesday afternoon, the move took many by surprise, considering the 25-year-old had spent the last couple of years in Denmark.
That was not the case, however.
Ogunbiyi revealed to reporters following the Red Bulls’ 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night that the move to sign with New York, more than three years after he was drafted by the club, had been a consideration for months. The Red Bulls had expressed interest in the Rochester, N.Y., native at the start of the year, and that eventually led to him signing with the team that did not offer him a deal after selecting him in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
“[My agent] asked me about it actually in January, if I thought I’d do it this summer and I said I’d consider it,” Ogunbiyi told reporters. “He came back again [recently] and said it’s here.”
A physically imposing center back at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, Ogubiyi joined the Red Bulls Tuesday after playing for Viborg FF in Denmark’s second tier since 2010. He made 53 appearances and scored six goals for Viborg.
“It was good, it was good,” Ogunbiyi said of his time in Europe. “I learned a lot and it was a good experience for me, so I was happy I went and I’m happy to be back.”
Ogunbiyi, who was drafted under a different Red Bulls regime, is unsure as to what role the current group has in mind for him. But he confessed that he finally put pen to paper with New York because of the differences from then and now.
“A lot has changed since I was here,” Ogunbiyi said. “When I got drafted, I don’t even think they had the stadium. It’s a different atmosphere and it’s exciting, so decided to give it a shot.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.