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Blom leaves Kaizer Chiefs for St Louis SC: What awaits him in MLS?

10:04 GMT+3 25/12/2022
Njabulo Blom, Kaizer Chiefs, October 2020
GOAL brings you some key background info on what the combative former Amakhosi midfielder can expect in the United States

The big news this week has been Njabulo Blom leaving Kaizer Chiefs for MLS side St Louis.

It was an unexpected move - for months now there have been talks about Chiefs and Blom's agent being unable to come to an agreement on contracts.

In the end though Amakhosi were able to sell Blom before he became a free agent and now the exciting young central midfielder has a brilliant chance to make his name abroad.

  • St Louis MLS stadium rendering

    New kids on the block

    St Louis are a blank slate - it was only in August 2019 that the MLS approved them as the an MLS franchise and the team has had to wait until the 2023 season to debut after becoming the 29th franchise.

    The club is a trendsetter in that it's the first female majority-owned team in MLS, with it's major backing coming from Enterprise Holdings, which has interests in the car rental business.

    Their jersey sponsor is pet-food maker Purina and the kit is made by Adidas.

    The team plays at the Citypark, a $457.8 million, 22K-seater arena which is less than three-years-old.

  • Muhsin Ertugral and Bradley Carnell of Orlando Pirates

    Carnell connection

    Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana defender Bradley Carnell was named as the St Louis first head coach in January 2022, having previously worked at New York Red Bulls as an assistant coach.

    Having a fellow South African - an Amakhosi legend at that, will surely play a massive part in helping Blom to settle in and thrive.

    Blom can also call on his Bafana Bafana teammate and ex-Maritzburg United striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane for a chat and some MLS advice - Hlongwane plays for Minnesota United - about 1000km north of St Louis.

  • Njabulo Blom, Kaizer Chiefs, October 2020

    An international cast

    Football is very much a global game these days with footballers travelling far and wide to pursue their dreams.

    Blom becomes the second African in the St Louis squad, the other being Ghana-born defender Joshua Yaro.

    He'll also be playing with teammates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden, Canada, Czech Republic, Brazil, Germany, Denmark and of course the United States.

    Such a colourful melting pot can only be of benefit, both on and off the field.

  • Zlatan ibrahimovic galaxy 31032018

    Big-names

    Blom will be able to test his skills against some of football's biggest names, including Gareth Bale, Javier Hernandez, Xherdan Shaqiri, Lorenzo Insigne, Carlos Vela, Giorgio Chiellini and Douglas Costa.

    Previously, the likes of Thierry Henry, Didier Drobga, David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain, David Villa, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have featured in the MLS.

  • Chicharito Galaxy celebrate 2022

    Western conference

    The MLS is divided into two sections, west and east. St Louis will play in the Western Conference, against: Austin FC, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, St. Louis City SC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • Njabulo Blom, Kaizer Chiefs & Brandon Theron, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), January 2021

    A history of ice-cream and Olympics

    Not one of the United States' bigger cities, St Louis may not be that well known to South Africans.

    It's pretty much right in the middle of the country, in Missouri state though also very close to the Illinois border. The nearest famous city is probably Chicago, just under 500km away.

    It is situated at the juncture of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, has a population of roughly 300 000 and is famous for bringing ice-cream cones to the world at the 1904 World’s Fair. St Louis hosted the third-ever modern Olympic Games, also in 2004.