FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When Florian Lechner started to ponder his future, he decided he wanted a change from everything he knew.
After spending his entire career in Germany with VfB Stuttgart, St. Pauli and Karlsruher SC, the 31-year-old defender wondered whether he should expand his horizons before his career came to a close.
“I played my whole life in Germany,” Lechner told MLSsoccer.com. “I played in the first league and in the second league. They're both good leagues, but there's more [to] football and more than German football.”
In his search to broaden his horizons, he received some sage advice from current and former colleagues about a potential move to the United States.
“A friend of mine, [ex-St. Pauli and Real Salt Lake defender] Ian Joy, played in MLS,” Lechner said. “Another guy was [Karlsruher goalkeeper and recent New York target] Luis Robles. And they said it was a good league, maybe you'll have a chance to go over there and play.”
The opportunity to make that happen finally popped up when the Revolution invited him to Arizona to spend some time with the team during preseason. The trial spell allowed both sides to evaluate whether a potential partnership made sense.
In the end, Lechner decided that he couldn't pass up the chance to make a permanent move to the States.
“I practiced with the team in Arizona,” Lechner said. “It was a great time. I liked the game and the play. On the internet, I watched the highlights [of MLS games].”
While Lechner said he is excited to start his MLS career, he watched from the sidelines on Saturday as he awaited final medical clearance to take the field. The necessary clearance arrived early this week and paved the way for the right back to perhaps make his debut at the LA Galaxy on Saturday night (11 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
“It was precautionary,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “He had something erratic and they wanted to look at it. They looked at it up and down and cleared him to play.”