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San Diego Loyal Signs Defender Emrah Klimenta

By San Diego Loyal, 12/14/19, 12:00PM PST


USL PRO Champion and Montenegro national football team player brings wealth of experience to new professional men’s soccer team

San Diego, CA (December 14, 2019) – San Diego Loyal Soccer Club (SD Loyal) announced today the signing of Defender Emrah Klimenta, pending league and federation approval. Klimenta is the second player to be signed and will join the Club for its inaugural USL Championship season in 2020. The first regular season home match is scheduled to take place in early March 2020 at Torero Stadium. 

“We are ecstatic to bring a player of Emrah’s quality and experience to SD Loyal,” said SD Loyal EVP of Soccer Operations and First Team Manager Landon Donovan. “He represents the values we want in our players. He’s tough, he’s a fighter and, above all, he’s a great human being who will be incredibly valuable for his talents on and off the pitch.”

The versatile defender was discovered by Sacramento Republic FC during open tryouts prior to their 2014 inaugural season. Klimenta would serve as a pivotal player in Republic FC’s inaugural season, culminating with the club’s crowning as USL PRO Champions under the coaching of Preki. During his four years at Republic FC, he was the team’s career leader in minutes (7,277), starts (81) and appearances (87). In 2018, Klimenta signed with MLS-side LA Galaxy, starting in two matches, before being released in June 2018, and returning to Republic FC for the remainder of their season. Most recently, Klimenta played with Reno F.C. including 16 starts in 18 matches. 

“My life changed that year in 2014,” said Defender Emrah Klimenta. “Coming off of an injury, I thought about quitting, but then I gave it my all at the open tryouts for Sacramento Republic FC’s first season, under Warren Smith. Fast forward to today, I am joining Warren as he launches another inaugural USL season. Adding Landon Donovan to the mix, I know this is going to be an incredibly successful club.”

In addition to his professional career, Klimenta was called up to the Montenegro national team in 2016 for numerous appearances overseas, including his first cap against Turkey and two separate World Cup qualifying leg appearances. A native of Montenegro, Klimenta is a third-generation professional football player as his father and grandfather were both professional players in the former Yugoslavia. His family fled the country in 1991, following the violence associated with the breakup of Yugoslavia. Kliementa and his family moved to the United States in 1999 to “follow the American Dream” and eventually settled in Walnut Creek, Calif. 

For more information on SD Loyal’s open tryouts, where Klimenta received his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please visit

Learn more about SD Loyal and place your deposit for Season Ticket Memberships at and #SDLoyal.

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