The LA Galaxy made their second major offseason move to bolster their offensive firepower on Monday, adding longtime European pro and former Canadian international striker Rob Friend.
The 32 year-old Friend comes to the Galaxy after nearly seven years spent in Germany, where he played both the Bundesliga and the 2.Bundlesiga, the country’s second division. He also spent a season in the Dutch Eeredivise and five years in Norway after initially skipping out on a career in MLS in 2003.
Friend has also earned 32 caps for the Canadian national team since his debut in 2003, scoring five goals. His last appearance with the team came in 2011.
“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena in a statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to LA.”
Friend most recently played on loan for 2.Bundesliga side TSV 1860 Munich, where he scored one goal in 10 appearances in league play this season. He scored four goals in 14 appearances for the club last year, his first season on loan after struggling to find minutes with Eintracht Frankfurt.
His best year in Germany came in 2008-09, when he scored seven goals in 24 appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga (above). He also spent the 2009-10 season with Mönchengladbach before he was sold to second-division side Hertha Berlin, where he spent two seasons and helped the club gain promotion in 2011.
Friend started his European career with Norwegian side Moss in 2003 and later thrived with Molde in 2005, scoring a career-high 10 goals 25 apperances. He won a Norwegian Cup with the club in 2006 before he was eventually transferred to Dutch side Heerenveen and then to Heracles.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Friend was a college standout at Western Michigan and then UC Santa Barbara before he turned down the chance to play for the Chicago Fire, who selected him 35th overall in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft.
The Galaxy scored 53 goals during the regular season last year – third-highest among Western Conference playoff teams – before they were shut out in the crucial second leg of the Western Conference semifinals against Real Salt Lake. After shipping out Homegrown striker Jose Villarreal to Mexican side Cruz Azul last month, they added 22-year-old Brazilian forward Samuel on loan from Fluminense last week.