A.J. Soares celebrates his goal vs. Columbus
USA Today Sports

American Exports: AJ Soares lands at Norwegian club Viking on deal through summer 2016

AMSTERDAM – Tippeligaen battlers Viking have inked free-agent defender AJ Soares to a deal that ties him to the club until the summer of 2016.

The 26-year-old San Diego native arrives to Viking Stadion after trialing under new boss Kjell Jonevret since Valentine's Day. As previously explained to MLSsoccer.com, the American's capture will patch a primary hole in the VFK squad with the new season about five weeks away.

"I'm grateful for Viking for giving me the opportunity," Soares told reporters at his stadium presentation on Monday afternoon. "It's the type of club anybody would want to play for. I look forward to fighting for the club and helping return them up the table. The group has a lot of young players and hopefully I can add some experience."

Soares, who ran out of contract with the New England Revolution after helping them reach MLS Cup 2014, started all but one of his 118 Revs matches across all competitions. He also recently had talks with Hellas Verona, but was unable to latch on with the Serie A side.

"The chance to come to Europe is an exciting opportunity for me, and not only for football, but for life," said Soares. "I was ready for a new challenge. It will be a different fight, a different type of football, a different atmosphere and I'm ready to take it."

Coming off a disappointing 10th-place finish last season, eight-time league champions Viking will start the new campaign with a trip to face Rhett Bernstein and promoted Mjøndalen on April 6. When he debuts, Soares will become the first American ever to play for the Dark Blues.

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