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Report: Soares signs with Hellas Verona

AJSoaresNewEnglandRevolution1-ColumbusCrew2014 (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports


After four years in MLS, A.J. Soares is ready for a new challenge.

According to a tweet from Jimmy Conrad, Soares has turned his time in MLS into a move to Serie A club Hellas Verona. Soares was left off the New England Revolution’s protected list ahead of the expansion draft, with plenty of rumors floating around that he was looking at his options in Europe. Neither the New England Revolution nor Hellas Verona have commented on the reports.

Soares is also reportedly out of contract with MLS.

If the report is true, Soares will join former New York Red Bulls and Barcelona defender Rafa Marquez in Hellas Verona’s aging defense, featuring three players on the wrong side of 30. Soares would also become the second MLS centerback to move to Serie A in 2014, following Columbus Crew SC’s Giancarlo Gonzalez’s transfer to Palermo.

This past season, Soares transitioned from a steady defender into one of the top centerbacks in the league, forming a cohesive partnership with Jose Goncalves.

Soares helped lead the Revolution to the MLS Cup final, where the Revs lost, 2-1, to the host LA Galaxy. Soares played 37 games this season, scoring twice and adding an assist.

The former Cal Golden Bear has a Portuguese father and holds an Italian passport, according to a story in the Boston Globe from 2011.

The 26-year-old California native has never been capped for the U.S. Men’s National Team.


What do you think of this report? Do you like the move to Serie A? Think Soares can succeed abroad? Who should the Revolution try and replace Soares with?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. As a Revs fan, I am not unhappy to see him go. There was always some kind of lack of communication between Soares, JoGo and Farrell and it’s been hard to figure out who was at fault. One of the main culprits is now gone and I always felt he was the problem. As for Series A…..hahahahahahahahaha… Series A bench maybe (if that)

    This allows Farrell to move inside and I think overall, we’ll be stronger in the middle

    • Ya I kinda know what you mean. Obviously the defense played ok seeing as we made it to MLS cup final but I still feel like lack of a great defense and of a top level goal scorer held this team back. You could see even throughout the playoffs we let up a whole lot of goals and I never felt comfident in the team to get a clean sheet. Plus Soares didn’t really for the high line we played due to his lack of speed. I think with Farrell in the middle and Alston a starter it gives us better personel to play the high line like Heaps wants to. But this also means the revs need to sign probably 2 competent defenders because we just have the starting back four and Barnes. An injury or two and we could have a real nightmare at the back.

    • I tend to disagree…I think the main issue was Farrell consistently being out of position and/or losing concentration. That pulled AJ out wider or left him scrambling trying to cover for him. Hell, just look at how many times AJ or JoGo or Bobby was screaming at him. Teams were focusing pretty intently on our right flank.

      Now don’t get me wrong, with some more polish I think Farrell has the higher upside here but his reading of the game still needs a lot of work (and I do think ultimately CB or even DM would be a better position for him).

      Soares on the other hand lacks pace but reads the game pretty well in my opinion. True, he’s more of an emergency defender than someone who can lock you down 1v1 but that’s true of a lot of CBs in MLS.

      At any rate, the Revs will certainly adjust, whether that be moving Farrell inside, giving minutes to Barnes and/or McCarthy, or signing another CB. Best of luck to AJ and let’s make it 1-5 in title games next year boys!

  2. Count me in the “don’t know if he can hack it” camp. Even if he had the talent to compete he’s American. Seems to be tough to get playing time as an American in Europe these days.

    • “Seems to be tough to get playing time as an American in Europe these days.”

      Well that’s simply because said players are not good enough. Please inform me who is getting your anti-American treatment and being denied playing time based on country of origin.

  3. Maybe it will happen….and if it does it’s just another indication that we have talent in this league but that it takes a good coaching staff to recognize it. Watch what happens if he gets selected, all of a sudden Soares will be USMNT worthy but will it really be about his talent or his place of employment?

    • “But will it really be about his talent or his place of employment?” The simple truth of the matter is that players who compete week-in, week-out against a higher caliber opponent….be it in England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, or France….will have a better chance catching the eye of the USMNT Coaching Staff than playing in a weaker league like MLS.
      From a MLS Standpoint Soares was measured against Gonzalez & Besler and found to be behind them in the bell curve. If he does sign & play in Seria A he’ll be compaired with Brook, Packwood, & Cameron. No guarantees that he’ll be able to unseat one of these 3 for a USMNT spot, but with the few CB’s we have in Europe these days he could easily earn an audition with the USMNT. Then it’ll be up to his performance in camp or on the field.
      In all honisty most fan’s would argue for having a USMNT made up of players from teams in the top 6 European Leagues over having players come from the ranks of MLS & Liga MX.

  4. When European teams look for American talent, players with European passports move to the top of the list. Its just easier for them. Free agent check, euro passport check, prime age of his career check, how many American central defenders could you say that about.

  5. So, he’s not good enough defender for MLS but somehow signs with an Italian team? ….as a DEFENDER?
    I guess he wasn’t selling enough shirts.

    • Huh? I’m sure the Revolution would have been happy to resign him if he was willing, but AJ made it publicly known before the expansion draft that he was going to try his hand overseas (so it was very clear to the Revolution, Orlando and NYC that he would not be signing with them).

      The only silver lining for the Revs is that he’s leaving on a free transfer, so they get first shot at him if he returns to MLS.

    • So does Garber and all the owners but these thing happen in every league. I doubt they really would have offered much in terms of transfer fee anyway – and the way that the league has scoffed at low-ball offers in the past, there’s a chance they wouldn’t have taken it anyway.

      • You’re absolutely right, and my view is more idealistic than realistic (in most cases). Just the general premise, is all. Clubs abroad seem fairly aware of our dealings, too, and possibly exploit it.

        For example, I can distinctly recall it being almost a given that Stuart Holden wanted to try himself out overseas again, had the capability to do so and wasn’t short on suitors. This was well before entering his last year of his contract. Had MLS resigned him to a higher wage, adding years to his contract, they could have received some (however much) transfer funds. The benefit for Holden? Higher wages and like most transfer deals, the player gets a cut of it.

        Although, who knows? Maybe MLS doesn’t have a system where the players get a cut of their transfer deal, rendering no player wanting to leave their fate in the hands of the league (and I wouldn’t blame them).

        Just spitballing here.

      • And MLS players are sometimes willing to turn down a new contract, knowing they put more of their future in their own hands. The cap (and a harder line negotiating stance) make it harder on player movement & retention.

  6. Great move for AJ. I don’t rate him that highly, but a great move nonetheless. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s going to a great league in which he can grow. Good luck to him.

  7. Is he really one of the top defenders in MLS? I just don’t see it. Not yet, anyway. I’m surprised he is drawing interest from Serie A. What do you guys think?

    • It depends on where you draw the line for top defenders. If you’re saying top 5 or 10, then no. But he would be in the next cut down. The Revs play a pretty aggressive high line at times, which actually works to expose AJs one weakness (lack of top end speed), even though he managed fairly well. In a different system he could actually be better than he showed with the Revs.

      • So a top 15-20 MLS defender who doesn’t have a single elite tool or skill can now play in a top 4 league? I can understand Yedlin who is not quite there yet but has the speed tool that scouts drool over and makes clubs think they can develop him but AJ doesn’t have that big tool appeal. Seems weird. Hope formthe best. Good that he’s challenging himself. Klinsi will love it.

    • I am a Revs fan. In my opinion:

      He improved a lot this year in terms of consistency. But I am not sure I see him at a Serie A level. he is a good athlete, but lacks pace and doesn’t read the game well enough to compensate for it yet. But he has progressed every year no doubt, and I would hate to see that stunted by going abroad and not seeing the field.

      I think learned a lot from Goncalves, and it is a big loss for US – he had grown into a great stage of familiarity with Farrell, Tierney, Alston, Goncalves – whoever was back there.

      Wish him nothing but the best. AJ is the type of center back who, when he has his best game, you don’t truly notice him, but you also won’t notice the other teams striker. Workman like and succinct. All the best.

      • I think this moves Farrell central with Goncalves and gets Alston back on the field with Tierney on the other flank. Barnes is then the defensive do it all sub.

      • Dos,

        “pace” while always desirable is not an absolute requirement for center backs in Serie A where the ability to read the game, anticipate, and position yourself, really matters.

        On the other hand, didn’t Lalas play center back there?

        You’ll see a fair number of older center backs there. The best defender I know of , Paolo Maldini, moved to centerback and played for Milan until he about 40. Soares is no Maldini but if he fails in Italy, it probably won’t be due to his lack of pace.

    • Another thing to keep in mind is that the “Serie A level” isn’t what it was a few years ago. It’s obviously still a big step up from MLS but I think Soares will do pretty well.

  8. Congrats to him, seems like a nice move. Hopefully he gets on the field. If he can get consistent time, you’d have to think he could get in the national team picture.

  9. Nice, solid moved at this stage in his career. Get a decent raise and cash in while entering his prime as a defender. Should learn a lot about sound strategic defending in Serie A.


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