New England signed French defender Didier Domi.
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Revolution's Burns: Domi is the first step for 2011

LAUDERHILL, Fla. — New England laid the groundwork for Tuesday's capture of former Newcastle and Olympiakos left back Didier Domi several months ago.

Domi, 32, traveled to Massachusetts in late September to spend a week on trial with the Revs and survey the scene for a potential move during the winter.

The ability to build a relationship between the two parties during that week paved the way for the eventual signing, according to Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns.

“When we had him in [September], it was great for us because he was able to come in and familiarize with the all of the guys, the locker room and the coaching staff,” Burns said as the final day of the MLS Player Combine concluded. “We had talked it over and hoped it would happen.”

MLS regulations made consummating the deal a bit trickier than simply agreeing to terms. The two parties needed to put their willingness to reach an amenable contract to one side as the Revs attempted to secure Domi's rights when the discovery window opened in December.

Once New England established their claim to the out-of-contract defender by adding him to their discovery list and obtaining first priority on his signature, the foundation for a deal was already in place to bring Domi to Foxborough.

“It just took a little bit of time to get the paperwork done,” Burns said. “He's a guy we've had on our radar for the past several months and we were able to get something done. We feel pretty good about that.”

The seasoned left back represents an important first capture for the Revs as they seek to rebuild their squad after missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Domi is expected to provide a consistent option on the left side of defense—a spot of multiple fluctuations during the past campaign—and perhaps offer some cover in the center as well.

“We feel that we're getting a real professional,” Burns said. “It's the first step [toward 2011].”