Onyewu played two years of college soccer at Clemson University, and moved to Europe in 2002, signing with Metz of Ligue 2 in France. In 2003, he was loaned out to La Louvière in Belgium, and to Standard Liège a year later. The move to Liège was made permanent for the 2004–05 season. After the season, he was named to the Belgian league's Best XI as well as Foreign Player of the Year for 2005.
On December 26, 2006, Onyewu was voted U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. He was the first defender to earn the award since Alexi Lalas in 1995. Having been the subject of many transfer rumors regarding clubs throughout Europe, Onyewu finally completed a loan deal with Newcastle United on January 30, 2007, covering the remainder of the 2006–07 season. He made his debut for Newcastle against Fulham on February 3, 2007, and his home debut a week later, alongside Titus Bramble, in a 2–1 victory over Liverpool. The two formed an ill-fated partnership, making a number of costly mistakes which was ultimately to cost Onyewu his place. Following the arrival of new manager Sam Allardyce, Onyewu fell out of favor, and Newcastle decided not to make the loan deal permanent. He returned to Standard, and his play continued to improve. He made his 100th Belgian First Division appearance for Standard Liège on March 14, 2008, against Germinal Beerschot, and was an intregal part of the club as they went on a 29-match unbeaten streak to win the 2007–08 Belgian First Division. After the season he was named to the Belgian league Best XI for the second time. His strong form continued during the 2008–09 season. He led the Standard defense to a second consecutive Belgian league title. Standard was drawn with Anderlecht at season's end, and Standard won a two-legged playoff for the championship.
Read more about this topic: Oguchi Onyewu
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