Edmonton's Gloire Amanda turns pro, signs with Austria's SK Austria Klagenfurt

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Canadian forward Gloire Amanda, named the NCAA men's soccer player of the year in May, has signed with SK Austria Klagenfurt in Austria's top tier.

"A new challenge. God guide me! … Danke! Danke! Danke!" the 22-year-old from Edmonton said on social media.

The Oregon State junior led the NCAA Division 1 ranks in both goals (15) and total points (37) last season. He was named to the All-Pac-12 and All-Far West Region first team as well as the United Soccer Coaches' All-America first team and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI first team.

His 37 points set the Oregon State single-season record.

He was rewarded with the MAC Hermann Trophy on May 27 as the top male NCAA soccer player.

The Austrian club said he had signed through June 30, 2023. Klagenfurt, which finished third in the second division, won promotion to the Austrian Bundesliga in May when it beat St. Polten 5-0 on aggregate in a playoff.

The Klagenfurt club was home to Canadian defender Scott Kennedy from 2018 to 2020 before he moved to SSV Jahn Regensburg of the German second division.

Amanda tied Alan Gordon for the second-highest Oregon State goals total in a season. He scored in 10 of the Beavers' 14 matches this spring, including five multi-goal games, and ended eighth in NCAA ranks in total assists with seven.

He also matched the fourth-most goals in Pac-12 history and ranks sixth in Oregon State history for both career goals (25) and points (61).

Teal Bunbury (Akron, 2009) is the only Canadian-born men's winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy. The son of former Canadian international Alex Bunbury, Teal has lived in the United States since he was 10 and represents the U.S. internationally.

Canadians Kadeisha Buchanan (West Virginia, 2016) and Christine Sinclair (Portland, 2004 and '05) have won the women's award.

Amanda, a five-foot-10 170-pounder, spent time in the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program prior to attending Oregon State. Growing up, he played for Edmonton Xtreme FC, Edmonton Internazionale and FC Edmonton's reserve side.

Amanda's first name is the French word for glory, with his parents drawing on the phrase French phrase "gloire a Dieu'' or "Glory to God.'' While he says the French pronunciation of Gloire is correct, most call him Glory.

Amanda's journey evokes memories of Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies' backstory.

His parents left the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of a civil war in 1996 for a refugee camp in neighbouring Tanzania. Amanda was born in a refugee camp there, moving to Canada with his family when he was 10.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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