Veteran Fred leaving DC, set for return trip to Australia
WASHINGTON — When D.C. United acquired Fred from the New England Revolution in the offseason, they knew there was a chance that if the right offer came along, he might not finish this season in MLS.
That’s exactly what happened Monday night.
The club announced they would let the Brazilian midfielder go in the July transfer window and head back to Australia to sign a two-year deal with the Melbourne Heart.
“We knew all along that this was part of the deal,” head coach Ben Olsen said.
Fred, who declined to comment after Tuesday’s training session, originally joined D.C. United back in 2007 on the heels of a standout season with another A-League side, the Melbourne Victory. He was named the league’s Player of the Year for the 2006-07 season before coming to MLS.
Because of the unique nature of the transfer, Fred will still be available until mid-July, before moving back to Melbourne. Despite his impending departure, Olsen said he wouldn’t hesitate to use his midfielder in that stretch.
“Fred has a huge loyalty to this club,” Olsen said. “He has a huge loyalty to me. I expect no difference in the way of effort and concentration from him. Some guys I think it could be a problem, but with Fred I’m not worried about him.”
After trading Fred to the Philadelphia Union prior to the 2010 season, DC brought him back into the fold before this season. He’s made 12 appearances — five of those starts — so far this season.
When Fred re-joined DC, part of the deal would allow him to move back to Australia if a better opportunity came along. Reports that surfaced last week from Australian media outlets of a potential move to the Heart came to fruition Monday.
According to Olsen, it wasn’t an easy decision for Fred to make.
“Fred told me how much he loves the team right now and how much he wants to stay here and live here,” he added. “But it’s a wonderful opportunity for him and his family — I gave him my blessing. That was basically the end of it.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.