Must-watch players: One MLS star to follow at each position in 2023
It’s go time, baby.
Willy Agada signed with Sporting Kansas City on June 23, 2022, as a summer transfer following four years of professional soccer in Israel. A Nigerian native, the striker scored 37 goals across four seasons, three with Hapoel Jerusalem and one on loan at Hapoel Haifa in 2020-2021. Agada turned professional as an 18-year-old and bagged eight goals during his first season with Hapoel Jerusalem in 2018-2019. He nearly doubled his goal haul the following year, scoring a team-best 15 times across 36 appearances in the Israeli second division.
He broke out in his debut season with Sporting, scoring eight goals in just 12 appearances. His eight goals finished tied for the club lead at the end of the 2022 MLS regular season.
2022: Sporting Kansas City: Signed with Sporting on June 23. Named Co-Newcomer of the Year with midfielder Erik Thommy. Claimed Co-Golden Boot honors finishing the season tied with Johnny Russell at eight goals. Received two MLS Team of the Week Selections for week 26 and Week 32. MLS Regular Season: Started 10 of 12 appearances, scored a club-high eight goals and added two assists (918 minutes played). Debuted for the club on July 23, coming on as a substitute against LAFC in the 86th minute before making his first start against Austin FC on July 30. Opened his Sporting KC scoring account with a brace against the LA Galaxy in a 4-2 win on Aug. 6. Followed that up on Aug. 13 with a goal on the road at Austin FC. Earned his second multi-score match against the Portland Timbers on Aug. 21, scoring the first and fourth goal for the team. Also picked up his first Sporting KC assist, setting up Erik Thommy's score in the 40th minute. Assisted Felipe Hernandez's goal, which proved to be the leveling goal of a 2-2 match against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 4. Bagged his third brace of the season and team-best third multicore game with two strikes against Minnesota United on Sept. 17. Scored his eighth goal in Sporting blue on Oct. 2 in a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders in the club's 2022 home finale. Open Cup: Made one Open Cup appearance (59 minutes played). Entered in the second half of Sporting's Open Cup Semifinal bout with Sacramento Republic FC on July 27 and converted his kick from the spot in a penalty kick shootout.
Hapoel Jerusalem (2022):
Rejoined Hapoel Jerusalem after they earned promotion into the Israeli Premier League. For the first half of the season, before he joined Sporting Kansas City, Agada scored eight goals and played in 32 matches in all competitions.
Hapoel Haifa (2021):
Following his breakout 2019-20 season, he went on loan to top-flight, Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Haifa. He made 18 league appearances, scored four goals and tallied two assists. In Relegation Round play he scored twice and added two assists in seven matches to help Hapoel Haifa avoid relegation and remain in the Israeli Premier League.
Hapoel Jerusalem (2019-2020):
Signed with Hapoel Jerusalem as an 18-year-old out of Nigeria. Made 31 appearances in all competitions for the club, scoring eight goals. He debuted for them on Aug. 23 and scored his first goal in his second match ever on Sept. 3.
Nearly doubled his goal total in his second year, netting 15 goals and adding one assist in 36 league appearances.