DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, June 22, 2016
American defender Ryan Malone is currently training with Stuttgart Kickers in hopes of finding a new team.
Malone was released from 3rd Liga club FC Magdeburg after a frustratingly injury-hindered initial season in Europe. Following an initial period of adjustment, which would be expected from a player just out of the college game, the central defender did finally break into the team's starting lineup in late-October.
After scoring a pair of goals in his first two starts, he looked set to become a regular fixture for the team. However, an injury in the following game kept him recovering and off the field until well into the spring.
Magdeburg finished the season in fourth place - still a distant eight points behind the division's promotion playoff spot - and chose not to extend the contract of the Massachusetts-born central defender.
Stuttgart-based club Kickers, who were relegated from the 3. Liga last season, could be the next destination for Malone, and confirmed through their website that he has joined the team for their pre-season preparations.
Kickers will play in the 19-team fourth-tier Regionalliga Southwest for the 2016/17 season against the likes of TuS Koblenz, Kickers Offenbach, FC Saarbrücken, Wormatia Worms, and a smattering of reserve sides from 1st and 2nd Bundesliga clubs.
The team began their pre-season on Tuesday morning, and have provided no timeline on when a decision will be made on Malone or the other players hoping for a contract.
"How long the players remain under observation and whether a commitment is made largely depends on the impressions they make on the team management in the coming days," the team clarified in their announcement.
They have a heavy schedule of pre-season warm-up games, beginning already on Saturday, which will give Malone an immediate chance to prove his on-field value.
Kickers' regular season schedule has not yet been announced, but will begin the first weekend in August.