24-Year-Old Swaps Belenenses SAD for American USL Side

Belenenses defender Trova Boni has moved on loan to USL side San Antonio FC, pending league and federation approval.

The 24-year-old, who was first capped by Burkina Faso in 2018, leaves the Portuguese side after their back-to-back relegations, which have delivered third-tier football for the first time since their split with Os Belenenses. Details of the transfer remain undisclosed, but it is the second time Boni has moved across the Atlantic.

“We are excited to welcome back Boni to the team,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “The latter portion of 2023 served as a highly beneficial adaptation period for Boni, and we are confident he will be a dominant player in our backline for the 2024 season.”

Boni began his career with Salitas, moving to Mechelen in 2018. His time with the Belgian side didn’t bring massive exposure to first-team football, but he did enjoy a loan spell in Portugal with Varzim B, for whom he appeared once. He also appeared in a single game for his parent club in 2018/19 but was a regular for their Under 21 side before a permanent move to Portugal with Belenenses SAD.

He made his debut away at Porto in the 2021/22 season but flitted between the first team and Under 23s. He made five top-flight appearances but was a regular through the 2022/23 season, which saw them suffer a second relegation.

After his side dipped into the third tier, he moved to San Antonio on loan, appearing six times. He’s also appeared five times in total for his nation, with some of those appearances coming in qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations.

He joins a San Antonio side currently in their pre-season period, with their opening fixture coming up in March against Loudoun United.

Site Opinion

The USL is the level under Major League Soccer – it would be considered the second tier if there was such a thing as promotion and relegation, and it’s a good level of football.

Boni needs regular game time, and Belenenses SAD has been a challenging environment recently. A good outing in the USL can lead to an MLS move, and that’s perhaps what he’s targeting. After all, four MSL players are currently representing African nations at AFCON, which could mean a viable route to tournament football for Boni.

Also, Ousseni Bouda is a member of the Burkina Faso team and he too plays in the US.

 

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