While CF Montreal striker Bjorn Johnsen has made 16 appearances with Norway’s national team and played the first decade of his professional career overseas, he actually spent much of his childhood in the United States.
Johnsen, 29, grew up in North Carolina and kept tabs on Major League Soccer’s growth before being signed from South Korean Premier League club Ulsan Hyundai in early February. He arrives on a two-year contract with an option for 2023 using Targeted Allocation Money.
Before this move, Johnsen revealed that he stayed clued into MLS news via the Extratime podcast. He also had discussions with former Seattle Sounders center back Kim Kee-hee, who won MLS Cup in 2019 before becoming Johnsen’s teammate at Ulsan Hyundai.
“He had a fantastic year, obviously, winning the MLS Cup,” Johnsen said of his conversations with Kee-hee. “He obviously has great memories, not a player who lost every game. He just told me that right now that it’s amazing, the continuity of all the teams playing well, doing better every year and getting better players every year. I obviously follow as well. Small things like MLS is Back and Extratime – I watched those podcasts, I followed MLS.”
Johnsen’s globetrotting career carried him to Scotland's Heart of Midlothian and Dutch Eredivisie clubs ADO Den Haag and AZ Alkmaar over the past half-decade. If nothing else, his résumé is one of the most intriguing in MLS.
CF Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard described Johnsen as a “big and very mobile striker” upon signing the 6-foot-5 attacker. Alongside fellow strikers Romell Quioto and Mason Toye, he’ll bring another dimension to Montreal’s final third.
And while it remains to be seen how Johnsen adjusts to MLS, he’s always kicked around a move like this.
“Many people might not remember me because I’ve played so long, but the people from North Carolina, they know who I am,” Johnsen said. “They know that I’ve always thought about maybe coming back to MLS. I didn’t know if it was going to be now or at the last year of my career, I didn’t know. Obviously right now I just got the opportunity, thank you to Olivier and thank you to Montreal as well.”