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MLS Ticker: Galaxy sign Canadian veteran Friend; Fire ink new Homegrown signing; and more

RobFriend1860Munich1 (Bundesliga)


Bruce Arena has recruited another veteran forward to play alongside Robbie Keane next season.

The Los Angeles Galaxy announced on Monday that they’ve signed Canadian international Rob Friend on a free transfer, pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC). Per the Galaxy, the 6’5” Friend brings numbers of more than 75 goals in nearly 260 appearances across his 11-year professional career. Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to LA.”

The 32-year-old most recently played on loan with TSV 1860 Munich in the 2. Bundesliga, and has had stints with Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha Berlin, and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Prior to moving to Germany, Friend played in both Norway and Holland after finishing college. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Fire in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft but declined to sign a contract with MLS.

Friend’s signing follows the loan signing of Brazilian forward Samuel and the departure of youngster Jose Villarreal on loan to Cruz Azul.

Here are some more stories from around the league:


Bypassing the MLS SuperDraft for the second time this offseason, the Chicago Fire came to terms with a new Homegrown signing for the club.

The newest Fire player is former Northwestern University midfielder Chris Ritter, who recently wrapped up his senior season with the Wildcats. The Chicago native finished his college career with 14 goals and 13 assists in 84 regular season matches. In 2012, Ritter was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

“Embodying what Chicago loves about its athletes, Chris is a tough, hard-working and skillful player,” Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop said in a statement. “Kudos to our player development system for producing players like Chris that can smoothly transition to the First Team.”

Ritter joins former Notre Dame Fighting Irish midfielder Harrison Shipp as a Fire Homegrown signing this offseason.


The Disney Pro Soccer Classic has used their connections through Orlando City SC to round out the eight-team playing field in the annual preseason tournament.

The final team added to the field was Brazilian side Fluminense (who has connections to Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva), who will reportedly send their Under-23 side as their first team will be taking part in the upcoming Rio de Janeiro state championship. With the schedule now released, Fluminense will face the Montreal Impact, Sporting KC, and New York Red Bulls in their opening three matches.

Even though they are affiliates, Sporting KC and Orlando City are currently not scheduled to face off at the Pro Soccer Classic.


The New England Revolution, who now have three first round selections in the MLS SuperDraft, made another signing on Monday official.

The club announced that they’ve brought back midfielder Donnie Smith after making one appearance in his rookie season. Smith started in an early-season 1-0 victory for the Revolution against the Chicago Fire, playing 53 minutes before being replaced by Kelyn Rowe.

“We’re pleased to bring Donnie back this season,” General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “He’s a young player with great speed, and as a left-footed player, he’s also very versatile. We’re looking forward to seeing him develop further this year.”


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Friend succeeding with the LA Galaxy? Do you expect Ritter to earn any playing time this year? Any interesting match-ups to watch in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic?

Share your thoughts below.


    • In Calgary or Ottawa? Anyway, so this comment is a continuation of a discussion from another story or even from another website. The answer to MLS’ TV contract woes lies north and south of the border. I do not believe that a profitable TV contract will occur from a single contract concerning league play. I strongly believe that once the Canadian teams start winning cups (supporters shield & final championship) and dominating MLS play, we’ll see very strong tv numbers from north of the border. In fact, I think the best strategy for Don is to do whatever it takes to get Canada crazy for MLS. Once that it done, I believe a Canadian national tv contract will be as big as the US one (soon to be in the 70mil vicinity). Furthermore, I also believe that somehow MLS will need to piggyback LIga MX. This has been said time immemorial. MLS needs to finally solve the interplay question. The very reason for superliga was to make money, which it didnt much of. However, we all know the big bucks that Liga MX makes with the millions of viewers on US spanish networks (Univision. Telemundo). I dont know the answer, but maybe it might involve some sort of extended superliga where MLS season occurs in thirds (opening, league-wide superliga, closing). If done right, a TV contract for that could also mirror the MLS tv contract. Imagine MLS getting 50mil for an expanded superliga play, 60 mil from Canadian TV contract and 100 mil for US regular season play. I think this is how MLS will finally start making TV bucks….from different contracts from different regions. The idea of getting big bucks from a single TV contract like NFL, MLB, and NBA, is an illusion.

      • Canada gets way better numbers for MLS. I remember Vancouver v Montreal opener on TSN in 2012 outdrew the NBC opener by about 8x the viewers with 1/10th of the population of the USA. That is HUGE. Canada will be a power, just wait.

  1. My oh my. Friend and Keane will be exciting to watch next year. I am really looking forward to seeing this dual compliment each other and get a bunch of assists and goals. I hope this puts Donovan as the playmaker behind them. That would have to be the best offensive on paper in MLS. I remember Friend from Eintracht Frankfurt. He was surplus to requirements. Great pick up for the Galaxy and can definitely add some quality seasons to the Galaxy. He is not that old in the scheme of the next 3-5 years or so. With Samuel, Friend, Keane, and Donovan playing at forward I see the need for Donovan to play a playmaker role. Stacked at forward the Galaxy need a playmaker to put it all together. I would like to see less reliance on playing on the wing and go straight up the middle like RSL and Porland did last season. Oh what a good year I can forecast on paper for the Galaxy. Friend really boosts the team.

    • As a long time Galaxy fan, regarding the Friend signing, a big Ho Hum. And they still haven’t made up for the bone head trading of Mike Magee, one of the worst trades in the history of soccer.

      • Chicago would disagree.

        As for Becks, his time was due – great player for the Gs, but he wasn’t going to stay anyway.

      • Agreed, Ho Hum. I would have much preferred a signing at midfield. Juni and Sarvas are great, but there’s a big drop off after that.
        A rotating door of Lando, Keane, Zardes (maybe Rugg/McBean) up front I’m okay with – we don’t need a 32yr vet there.

    • No, a 4-2-1-3 where Landon can prep for the WC on the wing… Put a true playmaker behind the 3 up top and in front of the Brazilians.

  2. I dont seem to remember the same rules apply for Canadian internationals. He also hasnt been capped since 2011. Chicago has no rights to him. Teams only retain the rights to players drafted but not signed to MLS for 2 years i think.

  3. Nothing about rights being traded or allocation order. Do the same rules not apply for Canadian internationals like they do for American?


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