Fifth-year MLS defender Jalil Anibaba joined Sporting KC ahead of the 2015 season. He made 112 regular season appearances over four years with the Chicago Fire (2011-2013) and Seattle Sounders FC (2014), recording four goals and six assists. Capable of playing as a centerback or right back, Anibaba played 16 MLS matches in 2014, helping Seattle to the Supporters’ Shield title. He also featured in four matches during the club’s run to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open championship.
Anibaba spent his first three professional seasons in Chicago, where he played in 96 of the team’s 102 regular season contests from 2011-2013. The defender was named a finalist for Major League Soccer’s Fair Play Award in 2013, starting every regular season match of the campaign. As a youth, Anibaba represented the United States at the under-18 and under-20 national team levels. In his first season with Sporting KC in 2015, he started 15 of 17 appearances across all competitions and tallied one goal with four assists.
2015: MLS regular season: Started 14 of 16 appearances, recorded one goal and four assists, and contributed to eight clean sheets (1265 minutes played). Made his Sporting KC debut with a 90-minute performance in a 0-0 draw against Portland on March 21. Scored his first goal for Sporting KC in the 91st minute of a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on April 5. Assisted Paulo Nagamura's game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Chicago on May 3. Assisted Dom Dwyer's goal in a 4-2 win over New England on May 20. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's goal in a 4-0 win over FC Dallas on May 29. MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not feature. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 6-2 fifth round win over FC Dallas on July 1.
2014 (Seattle): MLS: Appeared in 16 regular season games with 14 starts. Assisted on Kenny Cooper's goal in a 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers on April 5. MLS Playoffs: Came off the bench in stoppage time of a 1-0 loss to LA Galaxy on November 23. Open Cup: Appeared in four matches with three starts. Played 120 minutes of 3-1 quarterfinal win over Portland Timbers.
2013 (Chicago): MLS: Started all 34 regular season matches. Set career highs with 34 appearances, 3,060 minutes and three assists. Tied for team and league lead in games played and minutes played. Scored one goal vs. Dallas (10/12). Open Cup: Started and played full 90 minutes in four Open Cup matches.
2012 (Chicago): MLS: Appeared in 33 matches, starting 32. Scored one goal and added one assist. MLS Playoffs: Started and played 75 minutes of the Fire’s 2-1 loss to Houston in the Eastern Conference Knockout Match (10/31) of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Open Cup: Played entire match of team’s 3-2 overtime loss in the U.S. Open Cup. Friendlies: Appeared in friendlies against Aston Villa (7/21) and Santos Laguna (9/8)
2011 (Chicago): MLS: Appeared in 29 matches, starting 27 and logged 2,500 minutes, ranking second among Fire defenders behind only Gonzalo Segares. Split time between right back and center back. Tallied his first career assist on Dominic Oduro’s 89th minute strike in a 2-1 loss vs. LA (4/17). Became just the fourth Fire rookie and first defender all-time to tally a brace, scoring two first-half headers in a 3-2 victory vs. CLB (10/22). Open Cup: Joined goalkeeper Sean Johnson as the only two players to appear in all six qualifying and tournament matches of the U.S. Open Cup, logging 385 minutes. Scored from 40 yards out in USOC matches vs. Colorado (3/30), voted the club’s 2011 Goal of the Year by Fire supporters. Friendlies: Started both friendlies against Manchester United (7/23) and Chivas de Guadalajara (9/14).
International: Traveled to Mexico with U.S. U-18 National Team in early 2007 and was part of the side that took part in the Pan-American Games that July in Rio de Janeiro.
College: 2010: Transferred to the University of North Carolina for his senior season, appearing in 24 matches while helping the Tar Heels to their third straight NCAA College Cup appearance. Capped his college career by earning NSCAA Second Team All-American honors. 2009: Appeared in 20 games, tallying two assists during his final season at Santa Clara. Team captain, earning All-WCC honors for the third consecutive season. All-WCC First Team pick for the second time. NSCAA All-West Region team. 2008: Appeared in 19 matches, tallying 2 goals and 2 assists for the Broncos. Led the team with 34 shots. Named All-WCC Second Team. Was a Soccer America Preseason All-American. 2007: Started all 22 games, tallying one goal and two assists while leading team in minutes played with 2,035. Started first two games of career in midfield. Notched first career assist vs. Vermont Sept. 2. Moved from midfield to central defense vs. Stanford (9/14) and started at center back every game after that. Team went 13-1-4 in games Anibaba started in central defense. WCC Freshman of the Year and All-WCC First Team. Top Drawer Soccer Team of Season All Freshman First Team.
High School/Club: A 2007 graduate from Davis Senior High School in Davis, Calif. Named Gatorade California Player of the Year for soccer in 2006-07. Named Delta Valley Conference MVP in 2006-07 as a senior after scoring 16 goals and recording 12 assists. Led team to a 22-1-2 record and a berth in the sectional playoffs. Participated in soccer and basketball. Helped soccer team to section championship during junior year and led Davis to league title in 2006. Named All-League from 2004-2006. Named All-Metro from 2005-2006. Earned league's Defensive MVP award in 2005. Club team was the champion of the Nomads gold bracket.
Personal: Born in Fontana, Calif. Enjoys playing basketball, listening to music and researching Yoruba music and culture. Loves to vacation in Northern California. Likes any movie with Denzel Washington. Biggest influence is his father. Respects Jay Jay Okocha because of his dribbling abilities and loved to watch the Nigerian National Team because of his heritage. Goes by the nickname “Ja.”