Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By VINCE MADURI
The exodus of MLS players to England included a player who already came to MLS from across the point, with Simon Dawkins returning to his native country on a loan move to English Premier League side Aston Villa.
The Tottenham player had spent the past two seasons on loan with the San Jose Earthquakes, and enjoyed an outstanding 2012 along with the rest of his teammates. He produced 14 goals and 3 assists for the Earthquakes, helping revive a career that had been derailed by a major knee injury.
“I worked for two years to get over my injury and regain my fitness and now I’m really motivated to make the most of this opportunity at Villa,” Dawkins told the Aston Villa team website. “Tottenham have been great with me and the past two seasons with San Jose have really kick-started my career. I never lost my belief and everything I’ve been through has made me stronger mentally as a player and as a person.”
According to multiple reports, the Earthquakes are still interested in potentially buying Dawkins this summer.
Here are some other MLS stories to round out your day:
OLSEN SIGNS NEW D.C. UNITED DEAL
After an impressive 2012 season that saw D.C. United come within a game of the MLS Cup Final, Ben Olsen has been rewarded for his success running the team.
D.C. United exercised an option year on Olsen’s contract, which will leave him as D.C. United head coach through the 2014 season.
“Ben has had the leading role in rebuilding D.C. United and he is extremely deserving to have his option exercised a year in advance,” general manager Dave Kasper said. “We are very excited about our future with Ben as our head coach.”
JUNINHO HELD OUT OF TRAINING
Red Bulls’ new attacking midfielder Juninho was held out of training Wednesday as a precaution. The Brazilian missed both sessions with the team but coach Mike Petke says there is no injury.
“There’s no need to for him to get into this where it could be a possible injury,” Petke said. “Maybe he has a little tightness in his calf, but he’s exactly where we want him to be.”
Juninho joined New York from Vasco da Gama where he spent two seasons. He is most notable for his time at French club Lyon where he made 248 appearances and scored 75 goals.
The Red Bulls are currently training in Florida ahead of their trip out west for the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, AZ beginning on February 13.
BARRY ROBSON SIGNS WITH SHEFFIELD UNITED
Former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Barry Robson has joined English League One side Sheffield United on a free transfer.
The Whitecaps and Robson mutually decided to terminate the player’s contract on January 21st. Robson had made 17 appearances for Vancouver last season, scoring three goals.
The 34 year old Scottish international could make his debut for Sheffield on Friday against Conventry. Sheffield currently sit sixth in the table and are vying for promotion to the Championship.
ARRIETA CALLED INTO COSTA RICA SQUAD
Columbus Crew striker Jairo Arrieta has been called in the Costa Rica squad for the first match of the Hexagonal on February 6 against Panama.
Arrieta earned the Golden Boot at the 2013 Copa Centroamericana with two goals and helping La Sele to a first place finish. The 29 year old has nine caps over his career thus far.
Arrieta scored nine goals and recorded four assists in 18 appearances last year after joining the Crew midseason from Deportivo Saprissa.
CREW EARN 2-1 PRESEASON WIN AGAINST CHICAGO
The Columbus Crew defeated the Chicago Fire 2-1 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL Wednesday.
Federico Higuain opened the scoring, converting a penalty kick after Eddie Gavin drew a foul in the box in the 21st minute. Sercan Guvenisik then doubled the Crew’s lead, beating James Belshaw in the 65th minute.
Fire second round pick Yazid Atouba drew one back in the 89th minute but Columbus was able to hold on in the end.
FIRE SIGN MIDFIELDER BRENDAN KING
The Fire have announced the signing of Brendan King pending the receipt of a visa Thursday.
King had a terrific career at Notre Dame where he made 81 appearances, scoring six goals and recording 14 assists. The 22 year old midfielder has spent time with the Chicago Fire PDL squad.
“Brendan is a local product that we have watched over the years,” said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. “He is a talented, versatile player and it speaks highly of our player development system that we are able to add him to the first team roster.”