The New England Revolution traded midfielder Benny Feilhaber to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for allocation money and a pair of drafts picks on Tuesday.
Feilhaber, who had his contract option declined last month, is headed to the Eastern Conference powerhouse after two seasons in New England.
In return, the Revolution obtains Sporting KC’s natural first-round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and its natural second-round pick in the 2015 SuperDraft, in addition to an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
“We’ve been working on several options with Benny for a few months and we feel this trade with Kansas City is the most beneficial outcome for the Revs,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement on Tuesday. “This move allows us greater roster flexibility in both 2013 and beyond.”
Feilhaber was originally acquired by the Revolution in April 2011 via the allocation draft after playing the entirety of his professional career in Europe with Hamburg (Germany’s Bundesliga), Derby County (England’s Premier League) and AGF Aarhus (Denmark’s SuperLiga).
“I am really excited to come to Sporting Kansas City,” Feilhaber said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is a top-class organization and team in Major League Soccer. My goal is to help the team however I can. I cannot wait to play in the best stadium in the League and in front of a great fan base. I am already hyped for the first home game.”
The 27-year-old midfielder played in 52 games for New England from 2011-2012. He scored five goals and nine assists during his time with the club, his best season being his first (4 goals, 7 assists). Coincidentally, he made his Revolution debut against Sporting KC on Ap. 23, 2011, and racked up his first MLS assist in the process.
But after a quiet 2012 campaign (1 goal, 2 assists), the club appeared to be uneasy with idea of carrying Feilhaber’s hefty annual contract ($440K) into 2013. That, coupled with the offseason signings of midfielders Andy Dorman and Kalifa Cisse, all but spelled the end of Feilhaber’s time in Foxboro.
Despite Feilhaber’s recent struggles, Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes believes that a change in scenery might be the key to unlocking the potential that the former U.S. National Team regular (39 caps) never seemed to reach during the last two seasons.
“Benny is an excellent two-way, box-to-box midfielder who has tremendous ability, especially with the final pass,” Vermes said in a statement on Tuesday. “His experience with the US National Team programs and playing overseas will serve him well in our system.”