We are pleased to announce Ilijah Paul has now received his work permit, allowing his season-long loan deal from MLS side Real Salt Lake to be completed.
The 21-year-old arrives at Inver Park having made nine senior appearances for the MLS side this season and will bolster Tiernan Lynch’s striking options for the remainder of the 2023/24 campaign.
Born in Arizona, the American forward joined Real Salt Lake in December 2022 after being selected as the 7th overall pick during the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. Since joining the Claret and Cobalt, Paul has regularly been part of the first team squad and made a competitive MLS debut against St. Louis City in March.
Following his competitive debut, the player was selected to start against Columbus Crew in RSL’s next league game and has since gone on to play five more MLS games and two US Open Cup games. Alongside breaking into the first team, Paul has been a regular for RSL’s development side, the Real Monarchs, scoring 5 times in 13 appearances in the MLS Next Pro division.
Speaking on making the move to Inver Park, Ilijah said:
“It feels good to be here. Everyone has been very welcoming to me and I’m just really excited to get started.
“It’s dream for a lot of players back home in America to play in Europe, so I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been around top-level players in the MLS and it’s good to see their habits and learn from them which I hope I can translate into this league and make a strong start here.
“I am a hard-working centre forward who loves to score goals and I’m looking forward to learning the culture and connecting with my teammates.”
Ilijah Paul will feature for our Olympic side in tonight’s NIFL Premiership Development League fixture against Linfield and will be available for selection for the first-team’s trip to Loughgall in the Sports Direct Premiership tomorrow night.