MLS Ticker: Revs sign defender, Birchall returns to England, and more

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

The New England Revolution continued their busy offseason Thursday by finalizing a loan deal with Switzerland’s FC Sion for central defender Jose Goncalves.

Goncalves, a 29-year-old from Portugal, has spent the last nine years all over Europe, including stops at Bundesliga side FC Nurenberg and Scotland’s Hearts of Midlothian.

After signing three midfielders earlier in the winter, New England now has an experienced central defender that its front office has been searching for. Goncalves joins midfielders Scott Caldwell, Kalifa Cisse and Andy Dorman as the newest members of the Revolution.

The loan deal from FC Sion includes a purchase option for the future.

Here are some more stories involving MLS players old and new:

BIRCHALL RETURNING TO PORT VALE

Former Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew midfielder Chris Birchall is on his way back to his first club, League Two’s Port Vale FC.

Birchall, who was rumored to head back to Port Vale before the start of the 2012 MLS campaign, signed with the English club Thursday. Columbus declined the option on Birchall last month, making Birchall a free transfer target.

The Trinidadian international reportedly was unhappy with his lack of playing time with the Crew in 2012 and will look to get his career back on track at his old club.

IBRAHIM MAKES ETHIOPIA’S AFCON ROSTER

Minnesota Stars forward Fuad Ibrahim, the former Generation Adidas player for FC Dallas and Toronto FC, has been named to his home country’s roster for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

After being waived from Toronto at the end of the 2010 season, Ibrahim returned to professional soccer in 2012 with the NASL’s Stars. The Ethiopia-born, Minnesota-raised Ibrahim made five appearances for the club this past season.

Ibrahim was called up to Ethiopia’s preliminary roster last month and is one of only three foreign-based players to make the final cut for the AFCON team.

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What do you think of New England’s loan signing of Goncalves? Do you think he will give the Revs what they need in central defense for 2013? Think Ibrahim’s play in the AFCON could lead to a few MLS teams consider signing him from Minnesota?

Share your thoughts below.

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24 Responses to MLS Ticker: Revs sign defender, Birchall returns to England, and more

  1. Joe+G says:

    Notable that Ibrahim played for the US side in the 2007 U17 World Cup.

    • 2tone says:

      Did he even see the field though?

    • Old School says:

      “Notable” is quite a stretch for an NASL Ethopian international.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Agreed. He obviously has eligibility with both countries, saw the writing on the wall that his future with the senior USMNT was doubtful (to put it mildly), and pursued the other eligibility.

        • Joe+G says:

          I wasn’t implying that this was a great loss, just worthy of noting. Not every U17 player (by any stretch) is going to be a world beater.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Yeah, to me this is like Josh Saunders and some other former Islanders are in fact Puerto Rican internationals because Colin Clarke got them to play for the NT while he was coaching both the PRNT and the Islanders. Ethiopia is #110 in the world.

        That being said, Ethiopia is improving and even making ACON is pretty good. If he wasn’t going to make the US and isn’t even in MLS this is his little moment.

  2. Pete says:

    How does somebody restart his career with a 4th division side?

    • Darwin says:

      They are a professional team. Hence, after getting cut by Toronto, he restarted his career.

      • Rory says:

        I think he’s just the latest in a long line of players cut by Toronto to go on to make a few appearances for their national team… Marvell Wynne and Conor Casey are two that spring to mind immediately.

    • guwinster says:

      I think he’s talking about Birchall.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I don’t know if he’s re-starting per se, he started with Vale and as his career moves towards its end, is back there. He wanted to go back last year but they were transfer-embargoed so he was not even allowed to play for free (which he tried). He was born in England, grew up there and played many of his pre-MLS years there, and may simply want to go back. [He plays for T&T in the same way our Germans play for us. His mother was born there.]

  3. patrick says:

    Yikes, not much talent coming out of Ethiopia, huh?

    • fischy says:

      Probably has something to do with 4 decades of nearly continuous war and famine.

      • Sly says:

        Mujahadeed controls like half the country. Well known they favor lacross.

        • A says:

          Wow, are you serious? 100% False. Your thinking about Souther Somalia being controlled by Al-Shabab. That’s not Ethiopia. Ethiopia is split 50/50 with Muslims and Christians .. so no.

          And as for Ibrahim, he’s probably not going to play much. He’s more or less likely to be a back-up. Makes you think, maybe if he wasn’t drafted at such a young age (like Freddy Adu) he could’ve developed better. By the way, watch out for Ethiopia in the cup. Their team is almost entirely made up of non-proffessionals, but they are currently leading their group for World Cup qualification ahead of favourites South Africa.

        • A says:

          OMG I never even read the second part of your comment. Your joking right? Who in the world even favours lacrosse. My city (Toronto) is one of the best in lacrosse but nooooooobody cares lool. Ethiopia is football-crazy, but they are dominant in long distance running.

  4. Darwin says:

    Well, Ibrahim has the chance to stick it to Bob Bradley now…not that he has a valid reason to.

  5. Chicago Pete says:

    And this week, the Chicago Fire…oh yeah, did nothing. AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. hank2 says:

    It wasn’t his fault he (ibrahim) was brought up too early, tfc was just soo flawed. They didn’t know who they want to be. Hope he has a fresh start as an older more wiser player.

  7. TheFort says:

    Like the Goncalves deal, but I just wish they could’ve gotten a better defender, even a close to DP-type defender. I just don’t think a mix of Barnes, Soares, McCarthy, and Goncalves can help us get to the playoffs.