By DAN KARELL
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:
FIRE SIGN NORTHWESTERN ALUM RITTER AS HOMEGROWN PLAYER
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.
FLUMINENSE ROUND OUT DISNEY PRO SOCCER CLASSIC FIELD
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.
REVOLUTION RE-SIGN YOUNGSTER SMITH
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.