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Former Duke defender Ibeagha signs for AC Horsens in Denmark

SebastienIbeaghaDuke1 (DukeChronicle)


While plenty of Americans have decided to start their careers in Major League Soccer, former U.S. Under-20 defender Sebastien Ibeagha is going to try his luck in Europe.

Following a trial, Ibeagha has signed a contract through June 2015 with AC Horsens in Denmark’s second division. Horsens is currently in second place while the league is on winter break. The club will be promoted to the Superliga next season if it continues to play well and finishes in first or second place.

“We have seen Sebastien for a few days, and he has left a very good impression,” Horsens head coach Johnny Mølby said in a statement. “He is a young, exciting and physically strong player who among other things has made his name with a calm ability on the ball. He has good potential that we need to work to redeem, and his approach means that we are less vulnerable and have even better competition for positions in the back line.”

In his four years at Duke, Ibeagha started all 70 games he played, scoring eight goals and adding three assists. Prior to attending Duke, the 22-year-old Ibeagha was a member of the Houston Dynamo’s academy. Sebastien is the brother of former Duke defender Christian Ibeagha, who currently plays for Bohemians in the Czech Republic.

Ibeagha made waves by turning down what sources tell SBI was a lucrative Homegrown Player contract offer from the Houston Dynamo, which had tried to sign Ibeagha for the past two years.

Ibeagha has also made 10 appearances for the U.S. U-20s and has trained with the Under-23 squad in the past.

“I left Duke to look for the place I could develop most as a player, and I chose Danish football, where more Americans have done well,” Ibeagha said in a statement. “The players and coaches have shown me a lot of confidence, and everyone in and around the team and the front office have welcomed me.”

American defenders Michael Parkhurst, Clarence Goodson, and Heath Pearce have all spent time in their careers playing in Denmark, and all three of them have spent extensive time with the U.S. Men’s National Team.


What do you think of this news? Like the move? Do you think Ibeagha should have joined MLS? How long do you see him in Europe?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. You know, I keep hearing wrangling about which league is better than another league and where MLS would fit in…just curious, has anyone ever done a market analysis of this? I’m wondering how average wage and total wages spent fit in to FIFA’s/people’s perceptions of what the “best league” is.

  2. IN MLS he probably would be getting 100 K a season. In Denmark he might be getting 150 K a season. But heavy taxes and that’s in the 1st division. In the 2nd he might be making 50-75 K a season. But perhaps a good showing can help him get an offer from a dutch/swiss/belgian club and in 2 years he could be making 300 K a season.

    MLS is arguably on level with SWITZERLAND which is like the 12th best ranked league in EUROPE. MLS problem is that good defenders(players) like Goodson/Parkhurst make between 100-200 K here and in the right league, they can get 400 K a season. I believe Goodson was making Half a million in Denmark before he came home. I believe Parkhurst was making close to that money in Germany.

    salary cap needs to be raised to 5 million. Offer college signings minimum 100 K. I know that sounds crazy but it makes sure our talented college boys don’t head to Belgium or Denmark or Switzerland just for an extra 50 or 100 K

    • I agree. With the new TV deal they could raise the minimum wage by $2 million each team and still have money left over, but I’m guessing the money will be spent elsewhere.

  3. “Rolig omgang med bolden” as mentioned by the AC Horsens coach doesn’t mean anything like “quiet game of ball”. It means a calm and cleaver handling of the ball, shaping the game rather than reacting to opponents, which is a capability that is highly appreaciated in these parts – along with physical strenght and stamina. Haven’t seen him yet, but sounds like a defender with a lot of potential.

  4. Horens is suppose to be in a good position to get promoted next year to the Danish superliga. Seems similar, how Zarek V helped his team in Norway get promoted to the Tippeligaen.

  5. better chance to play and significantly more $$. Not a real choice. If you arent a top 10 draft pick, you really should go to Europe if you have a chance, just based on salary scale

    • I seriously doubt 1 1/2 years in Denmark is “significantly more $” than a 4 year MLS deal. Of course he would have to be good enough to stay on roster to get all 4 years of the MLS dough.

  6. Haven’t seen too many Danish second division matches but I’m comfortable saying that league is well below MLS level. Which is probably the point, I doubt he could make it in MLS. Good thing he has that Duke degree to fall back on because I doubt we’ll be hearing too much more about him as a soccer player.

    • Pretty idiotic rubbish you just wrote. You doubt he could make it in MLS based off what? The tons of time you spent watching him play for the Dynamo Academy, Duke as well as in the PDL? GTFO with that rubbish. Let’s not act like the MLS the Prem or the Bundesliga and the rosters are just chock-ful of fantastic defenders. If he chose to take up the Dynamo’s HG offer then he would most likely start on the Dynamo from Game 1 of this season.
      Don’t just go on threads and spout rubbish. It’s a waste of your time and ours.

  7. The short contract tells me the club are not all that excited about him. Looks to me like he wanted a euro offer and took what was available. Good luck to him in Denmark. He can forget the U-23 team for now I would think.

    • He’s done. He stayed in school to pursue London but wasn’t rostered and then they didn’t qualify. He’ll be too old next time. They might let him play but it’s pointless.

  8. Good luck to him. I enjoyed watching him play in the USL-PDL the last few summers. He seems like a really nice, smart young man who has his head on straight. As a player, he’s strong, fast, good in the air, a leader, organizes the defense well, comfortable on the ball…..he basically what you want a modern centerback to be.

    I’m sure that if he picked this club over Dynamo, it’s because he thought it was a better opportunity to develop. And….yes….I do think that is damning on MLS. He’s not a Freddy Adu-type who has his head in the clouds, but a smart and talented young man who thinks something else is better for him.

    • Ironically if he’s any good CB is a need position but I think one portion of his decision is based on the perception of his chances to break in at Houston based on how prior HGPs have fared (not well).

    • He gave an interview I read where he stated that his aversion for MLS came from how his brother was treated when he came out to college. Additionally, he stated that MLS contracts are very ambiguous and he was hearing one thing from Houston and another from MLS releases. Finally, he also mentioned that moving could be obstacle because your initial contracts are 3 years and the club could extend it for 2 years. So if one wants to move abroad, it could be an obstacle. All in all, these were the reasons he gave on an article on the Duke sports site or alumni site. I am surprised he did not find a better league a la Belgium or perhaps Netherlands. I really do not rate the Danish or Swedish leagues any better than MLS.

      • The contract arguments were kind of contradictory. He complained you could be released before tenure but then complained they could 2+2 you. Pick a side.

        I think it’s an emotional response to his brother’s treatment. If it was rational he’d have a better landing site.

      • His contract arguments are hardly contradictory. He is clarifying the situation for those not in the know…MLS contracts are severely skewed to the benefit of the league. The contracts are not guaranteed so they can cut you at a moment’s notice if the club no longer wants you. That said, if you are performing well, which will draw attention from outside suitors, MLS completely dictate your career because they can extend your contract based on the contractual option, which is strictly held by MLS.

        For the next bargaining agreement, player contracts that have team/league controlled options should be guaranteed. If the contracts are not guaranteed, at the very least, the contractual options should be player controlled.

      • Generally, non-EU players don’t have a great chance in the Netherlands because of the minimum salary for non-EU. For a 23 year old, it’s minimum $600k. Younger is about $250k. You usually don’t get a first contract there because of the cost.

  9. Dynamo tried to sign him the last three years of college, basically since his freshman year. He kept saying that his college education was important to him, and he wanted to finish. Come time to choose a professional team and he signs in the Danish 2nd with a team who may have a chance to promote… Even if he does promote, that sucks for the Dynamo.

    If an academy puts their money into development, they should be able to reap the rewards. Same thing happened to the Galaxy with Arreola. Does FIFA say that these kids can’t be signed to an agreement of rights once they enter the academy for a certain period of time?

    • I think it says more about him than MLS. He would rather sign in Denmark’s second division than here. He did not live up to his U20 and U23 ambitions (he was expecting to make this same type move year after year, and when it didn’t happen he’d go back to school), didn’t establish himself as an important college player, and kept having to double down on his desire to avoid signing in MLS…..which relates to how he feels his brother was treated. It reminds me of Gale A.

      That being said, I am equally amused by Houston fans who treat a player who repeatedly rejected contracts like he’s one of us.

      • Uh how did he not live up to his U20 or U23 ambitions? He was always rated one of the top CB’s in the college game EVERY SINGLE YEAR he played for Duke. He would have been GA if he chose to come out last year and wasn’t a HG signing. He would have been a top 5 pick this year no doubt if he wasn’t a HG signing.
        I’m pretty sure he established himself as a VERY important college player. It’s basically what you mentioned later in your post, his desire to avoid signing with MLS(the long term contract) as well as his still being bitter at how he feels his brother was treated. That’s his own and he will get over it in time after his European experience comes to an end whenever it does end. Be it next year or 5 or more years from now. Eventually he will end up in MLS.

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