Welcome back, Dane Richards!
March 7, 2015 (Official Press Release)
The New York Red Bulls have signed Jamaican midfielder Dane Richards to a MLS contract and waived defender Armando, the club announced today. Richards, who played with New York from 2007-2012, signs with the team after spending the preseason as a trialist. Per league rules, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Richards, a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was drafted out of Clemson University by New York in 2007. He broke onto the MLS scene in his rookie campaign, starting 27 games and contributing two goals and six assists. The midfielder was one of three finalists for MLS Rookie of the Year. Over five-and-a-half seasons in New York, Richards made 147 MLS regular season appearances, second-most in team history, and tallied 21 goals and 26 assists.
"Dane came into camp ready," said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. "This fan base knows what he can do on the field, but in talking with Dane he's shown that he has matured and his understanding of the game has improved. We're still figuring out exactly how he fits into this team, but we think he can be a factor over the course of the season."
Richards was traded to Vancouver in the summer of 2012 for forward Sebastian Le Toux and allocation money. At the end of the 2012 season Richards joined English Championship side Burnley, where he made one appearance before going on loan to Bodo/Glimt in the Norwegian First Division.
"Dane comes back as a veteran, and a guy who we think can bring another element to this lineup," said neophyte Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis. "We think he can play a role here and help us achieve success over the course of a long season."
Richards has made 45 appearances for the Jamaican National Team. He broke into the side as an 18-year-old in 2002, and featured heavily in the 2008 Caribbean Championship, the 2009 Gold Cup and 2010 World Cup Qualifying. He helped Jamaica to back-to-back Caribbean Championship titles in 2008 and 2010, scoring three goals and winning the tournament's golden boot in 2010.
Armando made 19 appearances, including 14 starts, for the Red Bulls in 2014 after being acquired last January. The 30-year-old previously played with Cordoba in the Spanish second division, and also spent time with Mexican side Veracruz and FC Barcelona's 'B' team.