KARACHI: Chaman-based striker Kaleemullah has signed a contract with Oklahoma-based Tulsa Roughnecks FC as the 23-year-old looks to continue his stint overseas in the United Soccer League (USL) for a second season.
Kaleemullah became the first Pakistan footballer to play in the US professional league this year when he signed a four-month contract with Sacramento Republic FC, appearing in seven matches for them.
Earlier, he also became the most expensive Pakistani export to the football circuit when he signed a two-year contract with Kyrgystan’s FC Dordoi for Rs2 million in 2014, where he scored 23 goals in a year-long stint in Bishkek to claim the best player award.
According to the national team captain, who was also the highest scorer for KRL in the 2013 Pakistan Premier Football League with 31 goals, he made the decision to stay in the US after contemplating offers from European clubs this fall.
“I’m staying in the US because I’m not done yet,” Kaleemullah said. “It is about scoring goals and making my mark. Sacramento Republic was a great start, but I still feel I need to score in the US; I need to be among the best players in the USL too. It’s the excellence that I’m chasing.”
The striker is hoping to inspire Tulsa Roughnecks when their season kicks off in March. Before that though he will be going to train in Mexico.
Tulsa Roughneck coach David Irving has expressed his enthusiasm over signing Kaleemullah. “It is exciting to add Kaleemullah to our club,” said Irving in the official statement on the club’s website. “He is a young player with great pace and skills. He didn’t get much playing time last season, but his goal-scoring record in the past years has been phenomenal.”
Furthermore, Kaleemullah is also hoping to make the cut for Major League Soccer (MLS) in the future. “I’m committed to this dream,” he said. “I have faith that if I work hard and score enough goals, the other clubs will also see my potential and someday I will play in the MLS.”