Kenyan Footballers Earning Millions In The US League

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Kenyan Footballers Earning Millions In The US League
L-R: Philip Mayaka, Leroy Enzugusi, Handwalla Bwana And Nabilai Kibunguchy Photocredit/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Talented Kenyan footballers are making it big playing for established football leagues around the world. A number of these players ply their trade in the American Major League Soccer (MLS) where they earn a tidy sum amounting to millions of Kenyan shillings annually.

WoK brings to the Kenyans working a decent pay in the MLS. 

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Philip Mayaka

Born on 30th November 2000, Philip Mayaka is a midfielder for Colorado Rapids. He was spotted by the general manager of the Montverde Academy in Florida while playing a friendly match in Nairobi. He chose to play in the USA and forewent the chance to play for Norway. He has played for Orlando city academy and the Tigers while in Clemson University. Mayaka became ACC Freshman of the year and was a semi finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.

In January 2021, reports stated that he had left college early for a deal with Generations Adidas with MLS. At the end of January the same year, he joined Colorado Rapids and was loaned to Colorado Springs Switchbacks in March. He also joined Harambee stars for the 2022 Qatar FiFA World Cup Qualifiers.

He reportedly earns a guarantee salary of over Sh10 million annually. 

Also Read: Noah Wanyama: The Man Who Molded His Five Children To Multi-Millionaire Sports Personalities

Leroy Enzugusi

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Leroy was born in Kenya before his father, Jonathan, moved the family to South Africa. He then won a green card lottery which saw them move to the US when Leroy was 6. Leroy would later win a scholarship to Drake University where his excellence in the field would shine through. He appeared in 52 matches and won All MVC First Team in both seasons. In 2016, he was named the boys’ soccer player of the year by Des Moines register. 

In January 2021, he was selected by Nashville FC, in the MLS Superdraft, who dropped him the same month. Nonetheless, he was under the wings of Forward Madison under trials. During his final trial game, where he came in as a substitute, he impressed by managing to score a goal. 

He earns more than US$8 million if the salaries of his fellow players is anything to go by.

Nabilai Kibunguchy 

Nabilai was born on 5th January 1998 in the United States where he was also raised but his parents are Kenyan. From 2015 to 2016, he was a member of Sacramento Republic where he scored one goal out of 30 appearances. He played college soccer while at the University of California. 

In the course of his college career, he was named: 

  • All-Big West Conference First Team 
  • Big West All-Freshman Team 
  • Big West Conference All-Academic Team 
  • United Soccer Coaches All Far West Region Second Team 

He officially joined Minnesota United on 3rd April 2021. 

According to soccerprime.com, the average salary of a Minnesota United FC player is $238,560 (ksh28 million annually).

Also Read: Wadi Degla: The Multi-Billion Sports Club Where Members Pay Upto Sh1.2 Million To Join

Handwalla Bwana 

Born on 25th June 1999, he is a Somali Kenyan and plays for Nashville SC of Major League Soccer. Handwalla was born in Mombasa but raised partly at the Kakuma refugee camp. His life took a drastic turn when they settled in the US in 2010. It was here that he nurtured his love for football, a game he had fallen in love with because of his dad. 

In 2015, he joined Seattle Sounders FC and in September that year made his professional debut. In January 2018, he was signed as a home grown player for Sounders MLS side. They traded him to Nashville FC on 21st October 2020. 

According to broadwaysportsmedia.com, Handwalla annual salary is $85,444.00 (Ksh10 Million).

Tobias Otieno 

He was born on 25th October 1998. He is a defensive midfielder for South Georgia Tormenta in USL League one. From 2019 to 2020, he played for Gor Mahia. Mid January 2020, he joined USL League One side Union Omaha and in February 2022 joined South Georgia Tormenta.

Lawrence Olum

He was born on 10th July 1984 and enjoyed great success in US football. He joined professional football with Portland FC in 2007. He went on to play for other USL team, which are: Minnesota Thunder in 2009, Austin Aztex in 2010, Orlando City in 2011, Sporting Kansas city from 2011 to 2014, Kedah FA in 2015, Sporting Kansas in 2016, Portland Timbers from 2017-2018, Minnesota United in 2019 and Miami FC in 2020. He has also made four appearances with Kenya’s national team Harambee Stars. 

Today, he runs a foundation, named after him, that seeks to identify and nurture sporting talent among the youth. The retired player made millions during his career as a footballer. 

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