FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rajko Lekic waited patiently for this day to arrive.
It took a couple of weeks, a brief training stint and a series of negotiations between his old club and his new one, but the last obstacles finally cleared by the time Tuesday morning dawned.
Lekic participated in his first training session as a member of the New England Revolution on Tuesday and revealed his pleasure at finally linking up with his new teammates after sealing his transfer from Danish side Silkeborg IF last week.
“It was very nice,” Lekic told MLSsoccer.com. “I waited for maybe two weeks to be signed. Now I'm signed and my first training [session] was good, I think.”
The session marked the first chance for Lekic to don his new No. 10 on the Gillette Stadium training field, but it did not represent the first time Revolution boss Steve Nicol put the once-capped Denmark international through his paces.
Lekic trained alongside his future team for two days last month as he and the Revs contemplated a potential transfer. The experience limited the prolific striker's chance to impress, but it did permit him the opportunity to examine the merits of his potential destination.
“It was two difficult days,” Lekic said. “It was like a little trial. I don't like trials because you might be only playing at 70 percent or 80 percent. You are tired after the long trip and you have to show a lot of things. It's not easy in two days.
“It's OK that I saw the players and I met Ilija [Stolica] and Marko [Perović]. I talked to them and talked to the coach also. I saw the city and the stadium. It all looks very nice.”
The brief spell and the allure of playing in MLS – plus Lekic's desire for a new challenge before his Silkeborg contract expired at the end of the year – paved the way for the striker to make his move to the United States.
“Major League Soccer is a big league with some big names,” Lekic said. “I think the league is getting stronger and stronger. That's why [I wanted to move here].”
In order to reproduce his impressive scoring record in the Danish league for the Revolution, Lekic must settle into his new surroundings outside of Denmark. The 29-year-old striker struggled to offer his best form during previous spells in Hungary and Spain, but he believes those experiences will only help him to adapt to this new challenge.
“I'm older now – four or five years older than the last time I was out – and I think I'm stronger in the head also,” Lekic said. “This time, I'm ready to score many goals.”
Lekic will have to wait to start working toward that goal until MLS and the Revolution receive his international transfer certificate. Nicol said he hopes to name Lekic in his squad for Sunday's visit to Houston.
“We would have liked to have had him for last weekend, but we just couldn't get that done,” Nicol said. “Hopefully, we'll get it done for this weekend.”