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Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra joins Chivas USA

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Carlos Bocanegra has played in Europe since 2004 after spending his first four years with the Chicago Fire.

CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra signed Monday with Chivas USA of MLS.

The center back who spent last season with Racing Santander of Spain, where he was on loan from Scottish side Rangers FC, will join Chivas USA in Philadelphia to prepare for a July 12 match against the Union. He becomes eligible to play for Chivas USA on July 9 when the international transfer window opens.

"It feels really good to be coming back home,'' the 34-year-old Bocanegra said. "I've been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the league, so I'm excited to seeing personally how much the league has grown.''

Chivas USA traded a first-round draft pick in 2014 and an international roster spot to Toronto FC, which owned the first shot at acquiring Bocanegra.

Bocanegra has played 116 games for the United States, including World Cups in 2006 and 2010. He began his professional career with the Chicago Fire and was 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year.

In January 2004, Bocanegra moved to Europe, joining English Premier League team Fulham, where he spent four years. He then went to France, playing for Rennes and Saint Etienne before joining Rangers.

Despite being sidelined for a month with a left hamstring injury suffered while on national team duty last November, Bocanegra became a solid defender for Racing, starting in all 23 games played for the Spanish team. Rangers did not renew his contract when the loan ended, freeing Bocanegra to return to MLS.

Chivas USA has the league's worst defense, allowing 31 goals in going 3-10-3, last in the Western Conference.

"I'm very excited to join the club,'' Bocanegra said. "I know it's going to be a big challenge because the club hasn't been getting the greatest results on the field, but it's something I'm looking forward to.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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