|PAT NOONAN 46 goals for New England|
Pat Noonan became the second Revolution player to depart for Europe on a free transfer this winter, joining Aalesund FK in Norway yesterday.
Noonan, the Revolution's No. 2 all-time scorer (46 goals in all competitions), and Andy Dorman (now with St. Mirren in Scotland) tied for second on the team with seven regular-season goals last season.
Noonan, 27, signed a four-year contract worth $225,000 annually before last season, but the Revolution did not pick up the option, allowing him to become a free agent. He signed a three-year deal with Aalesund FK worth more than $400,000 annually.
"We wanted to restructure his contract and he didn't particularly agree with that," coach Steve Nicol said of Noonan. "We knew it was a bit of a risk, but we felt it was something we had to do. We didn't do it without thinking about things. But it's the type of game where things are constantly on the move and things are changing, whether it's Pat or me or anyone else. Things move along and that's the nature of the game.
"If you look at our roster the last three or four years, there have been subtle changes. But at the end of the season Dorman wasn't playing, and we will have [at least] nine of the 11 who started in the MLS Cup coming back. Pat was a great guy to have in the dressing room, but we still have a real strong presence there."
The Revolution are hoping to re-sign starting left back Avery John, who also has been seeking opportunities in Europe.
Noonan helped set up both goals in the United States' 2-0 win over Sweden last Saturday in Carson, Calif., but this move will take him out of the US camp in preparation for a Feb. 6 game against Mexico in Houston.
Noonan joined the Revolution in 2003, the first of Nicol's draft choices to make an immediate impact with the team, and played in 150 games in all competitions, missing most of the 2006 season with injuries.
Adam Cristman, 23, and Abdoulie Ken Mansally, who played for Gambia's Under-20 national team, will compete for the second striker spot alongside Taylor Twellman. Forward Jose Angulo, 20, has also been claimed as a discovery player.
Aalesund previously imported former Revolution players Paulo Dos Santos (2000) and Adin Brown (2004), now the team's starting goalkeeper, on free transfers. Aalesund finished 11th with a 9-14-3 record (30 points) last season. Aalesund has several matches against top European clubs set during training camp in La Manga, Spain, late next month, and begins the season March 30.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.