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Kerim Frei
AUT vs. TUR 2016-03-29 (373).jpg
Frei with Turkey in 2016
Personal information
Full name Kerim Frei Koyunlu
Date of birth 19 November 1993 (1993-11-19) (age 27)
Place of birth Feldkirch, Austria
Height 1.71 m
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current club Karagümrük
Number 31
Youth career
2006–2010 Grasshopper
2010–2011 Fulham
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2013 Fulham 23 (0)
2012 Cardiff City (loan) 3 (0)
2013–2017 Beşiktaş 68 (7)
2017 Birmingham City 13 (1)
2017–2021 İstanbul Başakşehir 40 (3)
2019 Maccabi Haifa (loan) 16 (1)
2020 → Emmen (loan) 4 (1)
2021 Emmen 18 (0)
2021– Karagümrük 0 (0)
National team
2008 Switzerland U15 1 (0)
2010–2011 Switzerland U18 7 (4)
2011 Switzerland U19 7 (1)
2012 Switzerland U21 2 (0)
2013 Turkey U20 5 (0)
2013–2014 Turkey U21 6 (3)
2013–2015 Turkey A2 2 (1)
2012– Turkey 5 (0)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 January 2021.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10:40, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Kerim Frei Koyunlu (born 19 November 1993) is a footballer who plays as a winger for Emmen and the Turkish national team. He previously played club football for Fulham, Cardiff City, Beşiktaş, Birmingham City and Maccabi Haifa, and represented Switzerland up to under-21 level.

Early life

Frei was born in Feldkirch, Austria, to a Turkish father and a Moroccan mother and was raised in Switzerland.

Career

Fulham

Frei made his first team début on 7 July 2011 in Fulham's Europa League first qualifying round, second leg match against NSÍ Runavík of the Faroe Islands, where he came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute replacing Andrew Johnson. Following his debut, Huw Jennings gave his thoughts about Frei debut to Fulham.com:

For Kerim the change to go into the First Team has come early. He’s 17 years of age and had always been an exciting prospect. The Club's involvement in the Europa League has really helped to show what he can offer at First Team level. He [Frei] doesn’t lack for confidence - he’s a confident boy in terms of his own ability. He’s not an arrogant person – he’s very humble in lots of respects but what you see with Kerim is someone who, when he comes onto the pitch, comes alive. He explodes when he gets opportunities to get on the ball and it’s great to see someone with his qualities being recognised and having a chance to participate.

Frei then went on to make his first start for Fulham, playing on the right wing in the Europa League second qualifying round, first leg match against Crusaders in Belfast on 14 July 2011, receiving a yellow card in the 62nd minute.

He made his first start in English competition in a League Cup third round fixture away to Chelsea on 21 September 2011 and made his Premier League début on 10 December 2011, coming on a substitute for Mousa Dembélé in an away match against Swansea City. Fulham lost the match 2–0. Frei scored his first senior goal for Fulham in the Europa League 2–2 draw against Odense BK at Craven Cottage, side footing home from a Dembélé through ball.

On 16 March 2012, Frei signed a contract extension with Fulham, lasting until the summer of 2015. A week later, Frei started in Fulham's 1–0 defeat at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He was replaced by Bryan Ruiz in the 67th minute.

On 9 April 2012 in a 1–1 draw against Chelsea, Frei received the Man of the Match award from Sky Television for his performance.

On 26 October 2012, Frei joined Cardiff City on loan until 2 December. His first appearance was against Burnley, coming on in the 83rd minute for Craig Noone. On 22 November, Frei was recalled to Fulham after 3 appearances.

Beşiktaş

Frei joined Turkish club Beşiktaş on 6 September 2013, signing a five-year deal. He made his league debut on 22 September 2013 in a 3–0 loss to Galatasaray, coming on in the 80th minute for Veli Kavlak. He scored his first league goal for Besiktas over a year later in a 3–2 loss to Kayseri Erciyesspor. He scored a brace in this game, one goal in the 70th minute, the other in the 85th, coming after he had come on for an injured Olcay Şahan in the 37th minute.

Birmingham City

On 20 January 2017, Frei returned to English football, signing for Birmingham City on a three-and-a-half-year contract. The fee was an initial €2.25 million, potentially rising to €3.5M. He made his debut in the EFL Championship the following day, as an 82nd-minute substitute in a 1–1 draw away to Blackburn Rovers, but never established himself in the team. He finished the season with 13 league appearances, only 3 of which were in the starting eleven, and was an unused substitute 16 times. He scored once, with a 28-yard (26 m) free kick away to Rotherham United on 14 April; Frei "stepped up and arrowed the ball straight and dipping beyond [Rotherham's goalkeeper]" to win the club's Goal of the Season award but not the match.

İstanbul Başakşehir

After just six months with Birmingham City, Frei returned to Turkey. He signed a four-year contract with İstanbul Başakşehir on 21 July 2017. He made his league debut for his new club on 19 August 2017 in a 3–1 loss to Kardemir Karabükspor.

He spent the second half of the 2018–19 season on loan at Maccabi Haifa, and after returning to his parent club but playing little, joined Dutch Eredivisie club Emmen in January 2020 on loan with an option to purchase.

International career

Frei switched national team allegiances from Switzerland to Turkey in June 2012. He represented Turkey at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Career statistics

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Fulham 2011–12 Premier League 16 0 1 0 1 0 7 1 25 1
2012–13 Premier League 7 0 1 0 0 0 8 0
Total 23 0 2 0 1 0 7 1 33 1
Cardiff City (loan) 2012–13 Championship 3 0 3 0
Beşiktaş 2013–14 Süper Lig 9 0 1 0 10 0
2014–15 Süper Lig 29 3 7 0 12 1 48 4
2015–16 Süper Lig 23 4 9 1 5 0 37 5
2016–17 Süper Lig 7 0 4 4 3 0 14 4
Total 68 7 21 5 20 1 109 13
Birmingham City 2016–17 Championship 13 1 13 1
İstanbul Başakşehir 2017–18 Süper Lig 22 3 2 0 8 1 32 4
2018–19 Süper Lig 8 0 3 1 2 0 13 1
2019–20 Süper Lig 3 0 3 0 0 0 6 0
33 3 8 1 10 1 51 5
Maccabi Haifa 2018–19 Israeli Premier League 16 1 16 1
Emmen 2019–20 Eredivisie 4 0 4 0
Career total 160 12 31 6 1 0 37 3 229 21

Honours

Beşiktaş J.K.

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