Obscure Metro Files: Jordan Cila and Elie Ikangu
May 14, 2009
To say that 2006 was a year of change for Metro is an understatement of the century. Off the field... well, let's not get into that now. But on the field, former assistant and interim coach Mo Johnston went out of his way to rip up the foundation built by Bob Bradley and put his own stamp on the team.
In were Chris Henderson, Peter Canero, Taylor Graham, and Edson Buddle. Gone were Michael Bradley, Ante Razov, Eddie Gaven, and Tim Ward. And, 12 games into the season, Mo was gone as well, heading to Toronto and leaving Metro with an unfathomable record of 2 wins, 3 losses, and 7 ties.
But Johnston brought in more than the forgettable quartet mentioned above. A number of fringe players joined the team as well, and two of them are the subject of this edition of Obscure Metro Files: Jordan Cila and Elie Ikangu.
Jordan Cila could have been the next big thing in US Soccer. He played for the US at the 1999 Under-17 World Cup, teammate of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley. That duo went pro; Cila opted for college, and Duke. A good freshman season was followed by a steady decline, and when it came time for the draft in 2004, every team passed on Cila. Colorado did offer him a contract; he played 21 games for the Rapids and scored a respectable four goals, three of them coming in two victories over Metro.
A year later, Cila was traded to Salt Lake. He received less playing time, but still managed to score three goals in 12 games. So, after the 2005 season, Johnston brought the Long Island native home. "To get a player of Jordan's caliber is a great move for the MetroStars," Johnston said at the time.
Well... perhaps "great" was the wrong word to use here. While Metro gave up the proverbial 4th round supplemental pick to acquire Cila, he didn't exactly set the word on fire in 2006. Four league games off the bench; he did manage to score, on his first touch after entering the match, in the 6:0 rout over his former club RSL. Two Open Cup games off the bench, and a gamewinner against Wilmington. That's it: 146 minutes, two goals (a terrific strike rate actually), and that's under three different three coaches (Johnston, Richie Williams and Bruce Arena).
So the writing was on the wall for Cila. Without any fanfare or a even an official press release, he retired after the season at the age of 24. Next year, he attempted to join Steve Jolley on the Long Island Rough Riders, but left the club in mid-season. He is currently working at Goldman Sachs in New York. Not exactly a soccer powerhouse.
While Cila's Metro career lasted a single season, somehow Ikangu made it through two. A youth player with Le Havre, he attempted to catch on in England with Darlington and Middlesbrough, but failed. After coming to training camp in 2006 as an invitee, Ikangu made the rounds, and was compared favorably by Johnston to Claude Makelele (both were French defensive midfielders, with Congolese roots, below average height, it was only obvious). In March, he was signed.
Well, Makelele he wasn't. Actually, he might have been, but we would have never known; multiple injuries led to just two games and 22 minutes in 2006. He somehow survived the Arena takeover and went on to make... a single appearance in 2007, playing all of eight minutes. Ikangu was cut during the 2008 training camp; perhaps his biggest contribution to Metro was giving up #13 to the re-acquired Clint Mathis in 2007.
There were rumbles that Arena might pick up Ikangu in Los Angeles, but that did not happen, as the Makelele-to-be is currently without a team, and was last seen back in France, attempting to latch on with lower division clubs. He last kicked a ball in a professional game at the age of 20.
2006 Metro: where once-promising careers went to die?