Nashville SC announced Wednesday that they have signed striker CJ Sapong via free agency. Sapong is set to join Nashville on a two-year deal with an option for a third.
“CJ is a proven goal scorer who plays with the energy and enthusiasm needed in successful teams,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs. “His athleticism and tenacity, coupled with his versatility to play multiple roles across the front line, makes him a handful to play against. He also adds to an attacking corps that really caught fire towards the end of our first season when we had our full complement of players. His addition only enhances that group.”
Sapong, 32, is a 10-year MLS veteran. The 6-1 striker has been a fairly prolific threat over his career, scoring 73 and assisting 25 in 289 MLS appearances. Of active MLS strikers, only seven have scored more than him since 2013 (the first year American Soccer Analysis data is available).
Drafted 10th overall by Sporting Kansas City, Sapong won MLS Rookie of the Year in 2011. In 2014, Sapong was traded to Philadelphia Union for a first-round SuperDraft pick, and set the club single-season scoring record in 2017 with 16 goals.
In 2019, Sapong was traded to Chicago Fire for $450,000 in allocation money. Sapong became a free agent following a 2020 season in which he only made 11 appearances, and wasn’t in the squad for Chicago’s final five matches of the season.
Sapong has also earned four caps with the USM Men’s National Team. His last appearance came against Panama in November 2017, in which he recorded an assist.
With Nashville’s struggles to score last season, adding a proven player like Sapong makes a lot of sense. Nashville do have a Designated Player in Jhonder Cádiz, and a promising finisher in Daniel Ríos, but Sapong will bring much-needed depth and quality in the final third.
Sapong is the fifth striker on Nashville’s roster, which could indicate an outbound move or two before the season begins. With Cádiz on a DP deal, and Ríos highly rated within the club, head coach Gary Smith has many more options at his disposal than he did going into his first year.
Birthdate: Dec. 27, 1988
Hometown: Manassas, Virginia
Nationality: United States
Last club: Chicago Fire FC
How Acquired: Acquired via free agency