Just five days after selecting goalkeeper Matt Pickens in an MLS Waiver Draft, the New England Revolution transferred the goalkeeper to the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
MLS and the Revolution received an undisclosed transfer fee for the veteran shot-stopper, who had spent the last five seasons with the Colorado Rapids, including the club's 2010 MLS Cup championship run, but lost his starting spot to Clint Irwin during the 2013 season after Pickens was sidelined by a broken arm. Pickens never joined the club for the 2014 preseason and was officially released last week. New England acquired Pickens, 31, on March 21.
The Rowdies announced that Pickens has signed a multi-year contract with the club, which won the NASL title in 2012. Tampa Bay open their 2014 NASL campaign with a home match against FC Edmonton on April 12.
"This is a marquee signing that will add a great deal of quality and experience to our squad," said Rowdies general manager Perry Van Der Beck in a statement. "Our goal is to win another championship this season, so we're excited to have a player of Matt's caliber on our roster. He brings 11 years of experience, having played over 150 games in MLS. His size and agility is imposing at his position, and I think he will be a great asset for us."
Pickens has played 11 professional seasons, including 10 in MLS, where he has made 156 regular-season appearances, including 154 starts, with a goals-against average of 1.25 and 40 shutouts. In 12 playoff appearances over four postseasons, Pickens was 6-5-1 with 5 shutouts and a 0.92 GAA.
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Born and raised in Missouri, Pickens was drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2004 after a college career at Missouri State. With the Fire, Pickens made his first appearance in 2005 and earned the starting role in 2007, making 27 starts and posting a 1.15 GAA and 10 shutouts while going 9-8-10 on the season.
Pickens moved to English club Queens Park Rangers in 2008 and played the second half of the 2007-08 season there but returned to MLS in January 2009. Chicago then traded his rights to Colorado, and Pickens holds the Rapids’ club records in career games in goal (116), shutouts (29) and wins (41).