Noonan officially returns to MLS, joins Columbus

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Pat Noonan went to Scandanavia in January looking for a new start. Now he's come back to MLS looking for the same thing.

Noonan completed his return to Major League Soccer, re-signing with the club where he spent five years, the New England Revolution, and immediately was traded to the Columbus Crew.

As first reported on Tuesday night by's Kyle McCarthy, in exchange for Noonan, the Revolution recieve the Crew's first-round draft pick in the 2009 SuperDraft and allocation money. In addition, the two sides traded spots in the current 2008 allocation standings: Columbus now has the 10th spot, New England the third.

"I am excited at the opportunity to return to MLS and especially to join the Columbus Crew," Noonan said in a statement released by the Ohio club. "I think it will be a great fit and I look forward to helping a team that is in a great spot to make a run for an MLS title."

Columbus needed help up top and on the flank, and it gets both sore spots repaired with the acquisition of the 28-year-old Noonan. This versatility makes him vital to the Crew, for whom Noonan could line up as a striker alongside Alejandro Moreno or as a left midfielder in place of Robbie Rogers, who is currently with the U.S. Olympic team. If Rogers has a good tournament in Beijing and is sold, Noonan could find himself permanently on the left side at Crew Stadium.

Noonan left MLS in January after a contract dispute with the Revolution. He joined Norwegian Premier League side Aalesunds FK, where he made 11 appearances and failed to score. But sources tell that Noonan never felt comfortable with the game in Norway, which is a more physical brand of soccer than the skillful possession style for which Noonan excels.

Before leaving for Norway, Noonan was a mainstay with the Revolution, making 119 appearances and scoring 37 goals. He fought several injuries, but was a vital part of the team's run to the last three MLS Cup finals. He also has 14 international caps to his name.

"I think we're obviously adding a quality player who brings another dimension and further options to our attack as we enter the final third of the season and playoff push," said Crew head coach Sigi Schmid. "He has had a lot of success in this league and we look forward to having him for many good years in Columbus."