Two days ago, American attacker Lee Nguyen tweeted that, “This upcoming season, I will be taking my talents to MLS.”
On Tuesday, the 25-year-old former Dallas-area youth phenom made it official, putting pen to paper and signing a multi-year deal with Major League Soccer.
“Lee is a player that MLS is delighted to sign, with the contract potentially extending through 2015,” said MLS director of player personnel Lino Di Cuollo. “We feel his signing is a testament to the league's commitment to bringing back talented American players. He has done well internationally, having played on multiple clubs in Europe and Asia, and we expect that he will be a terrific attacking option for whichever club he joins."
Despite having previous US national team experience – Nguyen has three caps, all in 2007, including two substitute appearances at the Copa América – the attacker will enter a weighted lottery rather than the allocation ranking customarily used for players with USMNT experience to determine which team will end up with his services.
This will be the Texan’s first foray in MLS. Nguyen, who departed for Europe after a spectacular freshman season at Indiana University, spent two years at PSV Eindhoven and two more at Randers FC before making his way to the Vietnamese league – the first American to play there – in 2009.
Nguyen quickly established himself as a star in Vietnam, where he amassed 14 goals in 29 V-League appearances with Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (2009-10) and Becamex Binh Duong FC (2010-11). Before signing with Binh Duong, Nguyen fielded interest from Chicago, Colorado, Dallas and Seattle, but eventually opted for the Vietnamese side.
Last season, Nguyen, a popular figure in Vietnam, was the highest-paid athlete in the country.
In June, he and Binh Duong FC decided to terminate the player’s contract, freeing him up for a move to MLS.