Benny Feilhaber will be reunited with manager Bob Bradley as he joins LAFC's inaugural roster.
Benny Feilhaber is returning to Southern California, where he spent his high school and college years, and to the coach with whom he achieved significant international success.
Feilhaber, 32, was acquired by MLS expansion club Los Angeles FC in a trade with Sporting Kansas City. The deal, which will see some $400,000 in allocation money head back east, is expected to be announced later Wednesday. LAFC will welcome an accomplished veteran midfielder who won an MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cup titles in five seasons in Kansas City, while Sporting will acquire additional funding for an offensive reboot that already includes the addition of forward Khiry Shelton and French attacking midfielder Yohan Croizet.
Feilhaber was a UCLA walk-on whose pro career took off in part because of Bob Bradley, who now manages LAFC. Feilhaber made his senior USA debut in early 2007, while Bradley was still the interim national team coach, and followed that up with an iconic Gold Cup-winning goal against Mexico at Soldier Field.
From there, Feilhaber helped the Americans to the silver medal at the 2009 Confederations Cup and then to the second round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he was effective as a tone-changing substitute in three games. During Feilhaber’s 165 minutes on the field, the USA scored four goals and yielded one. When he was on the bench, Bradley’s side scored one and conceded four.
Feilhaber didn’t find the right fit when he returned from Europe in 2011 and joined the New England Revolution, but Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes got quite a bit out of the talented but mercurial player, whose complaints about Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team selections made headlines. Feilhaber was an SKC mainstay and earned a return to the national team last year under Bruce Arena. He has one season remaining on a contract signed in November 2016.
Now he’ll rejoin Bradley—who was the architect of some of Feilhaber’s most memorable performances—and play alongside the likes of Mexican Carlos Vela and Uruguayan Diego Rossi. LAFC opens its inaugural season March 4 at the Seattle Sounders.
Feilhaber becomes the latest U.S. international midfielder to change teams within MLS this winter after Darlington Nagbe was sent from the Portland Timbers to Atlanta United and Sacha Kljestan was traded from the New York Red Bulls to Orlando City.