WASHINGTON, D.C. - D.C. United and Major League Soccer announced Thursday that Bobby Convey has agreed to contract terms with Reading Football Club and has been transferred to the English First Division side. Convey has been granted a work permit from the British Home Office. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but United will receive a replacement player allocation from Major League Soccer upon completion of the 21-year-old's move to the south England side.
"When we drafted Bobby, we knew he had a lot of special qualities" said United president and CEO Kevin Payne. "It's been a lot of fun watching him progress as a player and a thrill to see him with the U.S. men's national team. I'm sure that Bobby will find success with Reading and we wish him all of the luck in the world."
Convey became the youngest player drafted into MLS when he was chosen by United with the club's first-round pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, the 12th player selected overall. He was thrust into action by necessity during United's 2000 MLS campaign. Originally earmarked to play the majority of the season with the league's Project-40 developmental squad, Convey was called upon early in the season. The Philadelphia native was the youngest player in MLS history to score a goal when he tallied in the 33rd minute against Kansas City on April 7, 2001. Born May 27, 1983, Convey was 17 years, 10 months and 11 days old when he notched his first strike. By year's end, the midfielder had played in 22 of United's 32 league matches, starting 18, and registered two assists. During his four-and-a-half-year MLS career, Convey appeared in 89 games (80 starts), scoring eight goals and 16 assists for 32 points and was named to two All-Star teams.
"Major League Soccer and D.C. United have given me a home these last few years to develop my game and become the professional I am today, and for that I'm grateful," said Convey. "I'm truly excited to join Reading FC and have the opportunity to show that another American born and bred professionally in MLS is world-class. My dream of going to England has come true and I'm sure that it will be a great experience."
The young midfielder has also become a mainstay on the United States Men's National Team. Despite his age, Convey has 26 caps for the USMNT, and has appeared in seven of eight matches during 2004. At 17 years and 151 days old, he became the third youngest player in MNT history to earn a full cap when he played one minute against Mexico on October 25, 2000. He earned his first start at left midfield against world power Brazil in a friendly played March 3, 2001, earning rave reviews for his performance against Brazilian right back Cafu.
He has also made a large impact at the youth levels, earlier this year leading the U.S. U-23 Team in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, held in Guadalajara, Mexico. As member of the U.S. U-17 National Team, Convey was the youngest player on the team at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship. He appeared in 45 matches for the U-17's in 1999, starting 43 games and collecting 19 goals.
Convey was honored as the 2002 Chevy Young Male Athlete of the Year. He was named ESPN The Magazine's "Next 2001 Athlete" for soccer and was one of World Soccer Magazine's "Top 100 Rising Stars" in 2000.
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