Edson Buddle appears poised to take his skills to Europe, where he's rumored to be close to signing with a second division German team after 10 years in MLS. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Report: Edson Buddle Set To Leave Major League Soccer, Sign In German Second Division

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Edson Buddle Officially Announces Move To German Team

Edson Buddle has officially announced that he'll be leaving MLS to play for German second division team FC Ingolstadt, who is currently trying to fight off relegation. He will join a team that is also in the midst of trialing Freddy Adu.

"While I have decided to leave the Galaxy, I do so with fond memories of my four years with the club," Buddle said in a statement. "I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Los Angeles and will miss my teammates, coaches, staff and everyone who works for the club as they helped make me the player that I am today. I also want to thanks all of the great Galaxy fans who have supported me ever since I arrived at the club and I am hopeful that one day I will be able to return to the Galaxy and help lead them to an MLS Cup championship."

Over 10 seasons with four MLS teams, Edson Buddle left little doubt that when healthy he was among the best strikers to ever play in the league. He scored 90 goals in 220 regular season matches and became the only player in MLS history to score 40 career goals with two different teams. At 29 years old, it's hard to blame him for wanting to test his skills in Europe.

While this was probably not what he had in mind after trialing at Birmingham City and being linked to teams like Rangers, it does expose him to a new set of talent evaluators and style of play. Although he reportedly signed for two-and-a-half years and is maybe even getting a significant raise over the nearly $190,000 he made in MLS last season, it seems unlikely that he'll be with this team much beyond this year, especially if they are eventually relegated. This deal would seem to provide incentive for FC Ingolstadt to find a suitable place for him to transfer.

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Report: Edson Buddle Set To Leave Major League Soccer, Sign With Inglostadt

Fox Sports is reporting Major League Soccer's second leading scorer is taking his services to Germany, though in a signing tinged with ignominy, the club is a relegation-embattled side in the country's second division. FC Inglostadt, currently sitting 17th out of 18 teams in the 2. Bundesliga, is said to have reached an agreement with (soon to be former) Los Angeles Galaxy striker Edson Buddle.

Buddle, who scored 17 goals in helping Galaxy to last season's Supporters' Shield, is out of contract with Major League Soccer and is said to have rejected an offer below the designated player threshold. According to the report, Buddle has been offered "potentially double" MLS's offer to move to Germany.

Buddle was recently on trail with Birmingham City of the English Premier League, though his ability to secure a work permit was considered doubtful. To gain a work permit to play in England's first division, players must have appeared in 75 percent of his country's 'A' team matches over the previous two seasons. While appeals are possible, Buddle's six appearances in eight years for the U.S. Men's National Team left him unlikely to receive clearance.

Buddle has been in Los Angeles since being acquired via trade int 2007. In 87 league appearances with the Galaxy, Buddle has scored 42 goals. Set to turn 30 in May, Buddle's strong 2010 earned him a spot on the States' World Cup roster, where he made appearances against England and Algeria.

Better described as known than marquee, Buddle would be a notable loss for Major League Soccer, particularly given his destination. While it could be argued Inglostadt's paying excessively for a striker past his prime age, Buddle's name look set to add to a growing list of U.S. stars who are looking to Europe after establishing themselves in MLS. Stuart Holden's move to Bolton has been best documented, but the likes of Ricardo Clark, Kenny Cooper, Robbie Findley, Jonathan Bornstein, and Sacha Kljestan have left since the end of the 2009 season.

Major League Soccer has balanced their recent losses with a number of high profile signings - the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. However, concerns about MLS's ability to retain recognized U.S. internationals will be renewed, with another in Bob Bradley's player pool set to leave MLS.

But whereas Clark signed with a Bundesliga side, Findley went to a historically significant English club, and Sacha Kljestan went to a very successful Belgium team, Buddle is going to a club few have heard of, one which will lead people to ask "Why?"

Why is the league's second leading scorer moving to that club? Why isn't he staying in the domestic league? Is it Inglostadt overpaying? Or is it Major League Soccer not doing enough to retain him?

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Edson Buddle Close To Signing With 2. Bundesliga Team, Report Says

Coming off the best year in what has been an up-and-down career, Edson Buddle is reportedly close to signing with his first ever European team. Soccer by Ives is citing "sources" that say the Los Angeles Galaxy striker is one his way to Germany to sign with 2. Bundesliga team FC Ingolstadt, a team currently battling relegation.

Buddle is currently out of contract with the Galaxy, which means they won't be compensated and, in a best-case scenario, wouldn't be available to return to the Galaxy until the end of May. Although it seems unlikely that a team on the verge of being relegated to the third division would sign a foreigner to a longterm contract, Buddle could be taking this deal as a way of opening up more opportunities in Europe. Buddle made almost $190,000 with the Galaxy last year, but has never seen a big payday.

At 29 years old and having spent his entire career in the United States, it would seem Buddle sees this as his best chance to ever to test his skills abroad and maybe get his first big contract. He is coming off a year in which he scored 19 goals in 28 matches (including two in the playoffs) and made his World Cup debut. That could be the capper on a MLS career that has seen him score 98 MLS goals (including playoffs) over 10 sometimes injury-plagued seasons.

The Galaxy, meanwhile, suddenly find themselves looking thin at forward. They have already traded away Tristan Bowen, who mostly filled in for Buddle during the World Cup last year, and have been unable to come to contract terms with Juan Pablo Angel, who was acquired in the Re-Entry Draft. Signing Angel, the only MLS player with a better strike rate than Buddle over the past four seasons, would seem to be the top priority of a team that has gone from having an embarrassment of riches to one that has no natural scoring forward. Landon Donovan could conceivably fill the void, but he has spent significantly more time in the midfield and would still likely need to be paired with a target forward.

One other option could include bringing in a player from outside the organization. The losses of Buddle, Chris Klein (retired), Dema Kovalenko (option declined) and Eddie Lewis (retired) have cleared more than $500,000 off the Galaxy's salary budget. It's impossible to know for sure, but a rough look at their cap situation suggests the Galaxy have as much as $600,000 in available cap space (once the increased budget is accounted for).

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