The Seattle Sounders transferred midfielder Erik Friberg to top-flight Swedish club Malmö FF on Monday, ending his one-year tenure in Rave Green.
Friberg, 25, signed with Seattle in December 2010 and started 23 regular-season matches and appeared in 26 last season. He also scored one goal and contributed two assists, but his personal desire to return to Sweden became pressing enough for the Sounders to seek a deal.
"Erik is starting a young family, and he feels it would be best to do so close to home," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said in a statement. "This move enables the couple to be near their families and have the proper support."
Friberg is a native of Göteborg, Sweden, and played his first five professional seasons for BK Häcken (2007-10) and Västra Frölunda IF (2005-06). Malmö, winner of a record 19 Swedish titles, finished fourth in the 2011 Allsvenskan and complete UEFA Europa League play on Thursday.
"I am very proud to have played for Sounders FC and our tremendous fans," Friberg said in a statement. "It's been a fantastic year for me, one that I will never forget. I want to thank my teammates, the coaches, the club officials and our supporters for all their help and encouragement. Perhaps in the future, there will be an opportunity for me to come back and play again for the Sounders."
Friberg split time between roles in the attacking central midfield and on both flanks in 2011. Brad Evans, who appeared in 20 games last season for Seattle while battling injuries, will likely to get the call in the central midfield in 2012 alongside incumbent holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.