Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Heath Pearce’s tumultuous time in New York has come to an end.
On Wednesday, the club announced that it was parting ways with the out-of-contract defender after an injury-shortened 2013 season. The 29-year-old Pearce only made 14 appearances this season for the Red Bulls before electing to undergo season-ending hip surgery in early July. Pearce is eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft next month.
“We want to thank Heath for his time at the club since joining in 2012,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. “Following our discussions with Heath after the conclusion of the 2013 season, it was decided to not offer him a new contract in order to allow both parties to go in our separate ways. We wish Heath the best of luck in the next stage of his career.”
Pearce joined the Red Bulls in May 2012 in a trade with Chivas USA in exchange for forward Juan Agudelo, allocation money, and future considerations. During his stay with the Red Bulls, the 35-times capped U.S. defender made 32 appearances with two goals and two assists, but never lived up to expectations that came with his pedigree and his lofty contract. Pearce earned a base salary this season of $331,236.
With Pearce’s departure, the Red Bulls have now cut ties with four players this offseason, including defenders David Carney and Brandon Barklage, as well as recently retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
On Nov. 18, Pearce told Empire of Soccer that he’d be interested in staying with the Red Bulls if there is an opportunity to do so.
What do you think of this news? Did you expect the Red Bulls to part ways with Pearce? Hoping that Pearce comes back with the Red Bulls at a lower salary? Are you worried about the Red Bulls’ defensive depth for next season?
Share your thoughts below.