Transfer Tracker

Charlotte FC acquire winger Liel Abada from Celtic FC

Liel Abada - Charlotte FC - transfer


Charlotte FC have a new Young Designated Player, as the club announced Thursday they have acquired winger Liel Abada from Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC.

The 22-year-old Israeli international arrives for a transfer fee that's reportedly around $8 million. He is under contract through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.

Abada fills one of two DP slots Charlotte opened last month when Polish international forwards Kamil Jozwiak (transfer to LaLiga's Granada) and Karol Swiderski (loan to Serie A's Hellas Verona) departed the club. In Charlotte's early days under head coach Dean Smith, Argentine striker Enzo Copetti is their other DP.

"Liel has been one of the most exciting young wingers in Europe and we’re delighted to welcome him to Charlotte," general manager Zoran Krneta said in a release. "He’s an elite goal scorer and chance creator who is a proven winner who is determined to bring trophies home to the club and our supporters."

Abada was prolific at Celtic, tallying 29g/22a in 112 matches as they won five trophies and competed in the UEFA Champions League. That followed his breakthrough at Israeli side Maccabi Petah Tikva, where he tallied 20g/10a in 76 matches.

Internationally, Abada has one goal in 10 appearances.

"To bring a player of his caliber to Major League Soccer speaks to the strength of the league, but also that Charlotte FC is an attractive destination for top foreign talent," Krneta said.

Abada could form a first-choice front three in Charlotte alongside Copetti and winger Kerwin Vargas. He joins midfielder Djibril Diani and winger Iuri Tavares, among others, as key additions for 2024.

Charlotte, now in their third season, made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last year as the Eastern Conference's No. 9 seed. They're undefeated so far (1W-0L-1D) and return to action on Saturday at Toronto FC (2 pm ET | Apple TV - Free).