UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The club that gave Tim Ream his professional debut and helped him rise to the United States national team is now saying goodbye to the young defender.
The Red Bulls officially announced a transfer deal on Thursday morning to send Ream to Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League as the 24-year-old center back has been granted his work permit. Per club and league policy, the terms of the deal were undisclosed.
“I want to thank the Red Bulls and their fans for their tremendous support over the past two years," Ream said in a statement. "The club gave me an unbelievable opportunity to play in Major League Soccer and I would not have been in this position without the team and league’s backing. I will always cherish my memories playing for New York."
A second-round draft pick in 2010, Ream became an instant starter with the Red Bulls as he played every minute of every match his rookie season. His success included being a finalist for Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 and then an All-Star this past season. His solid defensive cover and outstanding distribution out of the back line earned him US national team call-ups for friendlies and last summer's Gold Cup.
"This was a difficult decision for us as a club," Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Solér said in a statement, "but at the end of the day, we could not turn down this opportunity to help Tim’s development as a player. He has become a mature professional during his time here and we will fully support him as he moves to Bolton. He will always be welcome at Red Bull Arena."
The Red Bulls have made significant contributions to the growing number of Americans playing in Europe in recent years. The likes of Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, Ricardo Clark, Michael Bradley and now Ream are among the national team contingent that currently plays top-flight European soccer after getting their professional start in New York.
“This was a hard decision for me considering the fact that I enjoyed playing for the Red Bulls and was looking forward to the upcoming MLS season," Ream said. "However, after consulting with those closest to me, I decided that this was a once in a lifetime chance that I could not pass up.”
Ream, who has been in England the past few weeks working on the finer points of the deal with his agent, caught the eye of Bolton manager Owen Coyle in December while training with the club in an effort to stay match fit.
"Tim is everything that we want in the players we are bringing to the club when we spend in the transfer market," Coyle told Bolton's official website. "He is young, has a tremendous attitude and a winning mentality. I know he will fit in well with the rest of the squad here at Bolton."
Bolton, whose roster also includes US international midfielder Stuart Holden, have endured a rough season and currently sit in 17th place in the Premiership, two points above the relegation zone.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com