Red Bulls' Freeman in talks to join Norwegian club IK Start
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- New York Red Bulls defender Hunter Freeman admitted on Sunday that he could be headed to Norwegian club IK Start and said he is in contact with the team.
Reports had surfaced in the Norwegian media last week that the 23-year-old Texan right back would make the move to Europe after his four-year contract with the Red Bulls expires at the end of the 2008 MLS season.
"It's something that's popped up in the last few days," said Freeman after the Red Bulls' 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. "The team is interested in me. Where it will go, I'm not sure."
Freeman is the latest MLS player to have been connected to a European club in the past few weeks. FC Dallas striker Kenny Cooper is reportedly set to sign with Welsh club Cardiff City, while his teammate, Colombian midfielder Juan Toja, is reportedly on his way to Romanian powerhouse Steaua Bucharest. L.A. Galaxy striker Edson Buddle has also been connected with Norwegian club Rosenborg.
Freeman has had an up-and-down year in his second season with the last-place Red Bulls. He has been an inconsistent defender, but has shown good skills on the offensive side of the ball. He was part of the U.S. Under-23 squad that qualified for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, but missed out on head coach Peter Nowak's final squad.
IK Start was relegated to the second division after finishing in 13th place in the 14-team Norwegian Premier League last season. The club is based in the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand.
Another American, Clarence Goodson, also plays for Start. The 26-year-old defender played four seasons for FC Dallas before making the move to Norway earlier this year. Goodson has made one appearance for the U.S. national team. The Earthquakes hold his MLS rights after selecting him in last year's Expansion Draft.