KENYA BROWN - Thursday, January 29, 2015
American defender Heath Pearce will be heading back to Europe as he has signed a contract with Swedish Allsvenskan side IFK Goteborg, the team announced on Thursday.
The California native has signed a five-month contract with an option to extend the deal.
Pearce was free to sign for the team after failing to come to terms with new Major League Soccer side Orlando City, which selected him in the 2014 Expansion Draft.
"He's currently leaving San Francisco to join the team in Portugal," said Michael Kallback, the agent who finalized the deal for Pearce. "IFK have shown interest in Heath for a while, and since he did not agree with Orlando we nailed down the interesting offers and clubs, and IFK was a option we really wanted."
Pearce began his professional career in Europe when he signed with Danish Superliga side FC Nordsjælland during the 2004-05 season. After two and half seasons with the Wild Tigers, Pearce would head to Germany where he signed with Hansa Rostock. His time at Hansa would end after two seasons as there were reports of disputes with the coaching staff.
After being released from his contract at Hansa, Pearce would return to the United States in September 2009 where he signed with FC Dallas. In his first season with the team he helped them to reach the 2010 MLS Cup final - a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. He would also play for Chivas USA, New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact.
On the international front, Pearce has earned 35 caps for the U.S. national team. He was on the 30-man preliminary roster for the 2010 World Cup, but did not make onto the final 23-man roster.
The 30-year-old left back will be joining one of the most decorated teams in Sweden. The team has won 18 Swedish league titles along with two UEFA Cups back in 1982 and 1987.
Pearce will have his first chance to play for the first team when Goteborg take on Atvidabergs FF in the season opener on Apr. 5.