BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
With the 2010-2011 preseason quickly approaching, Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj is on the verge of signing a brand new three year contract with the club.

After completing his freshman season at the University of North Carolina in 2007, Lichaj signed with the Premier League club.

That same year he was also scheduled to compete with the 2007 US U20 World Cup team in Canada, however an injury kept him off the roster.

Lichaj, 21, starred with Aston Villa's reserve team for the first few years of his contract. His first breakthrough came in the 2009 preseason when he played every game in Aston Villa's Peace Cup Championship run. In the final game, Lichaj played all 120 minutes against Juventus.

Last season Lichaj went out on loan to two different clubs. In the first half of the season, he played for Lincoln City of League Two.

In the second half of the season, he played for Leyton Orient of League One. During his time at Orient, he scored his first ever professional goal and helped the club fight off relegation.

Lichaj will now likely enter Aston Villa's preseason with a chance to fight for a spot on the first team.

"He is about to sign a new three year contact," Lichaj's agent Steve Kelly told YA. "He will train with Villa's first team in the preseason."

Kelly did not discount the possibility of another loan for Lichaj but insisted that another loan would be at a higher level.

"He will be with Aston Villa for the preseason and we will see how it goes," he admitted. "If he goes out on loan it will be at least at the level of the Championship."

Aston Villa finished sixth in the English Premier League in 2009-2010 and will compete in the Europa League this coming year.