A pair of players hailing from Massachusetts will pursue opportunites abroad after each signed contracts with foreign clubs this week.
Ryan Johnson (Melrose) and Andrew Sousa (Fall River) inked deals with Henan Jianye (China) and Fylkir (Iceland) this week, becoming two of the latest Commonwealth natives to continue their careers on foreign soil.
Johnson, who earned 2002 Boston Globe Player of the Year honors during his senior year at Melrose High School, scored nine goals in 29 games for the Portland Timbers last year. He became the first Jamaican player to sign with a Chinese club after he was introduced as the newest addition to the Chinese Super League side on Thursday.
Ryan Johnson makes history as first American or Jamaican in Chinese Super League for Henan Jianye FC. Good luck Ryan! pic.twitter.com/opKtNFb93p
— Global Premier Mgmt (@GlobalPremMgmt) February 27, 2014
Johnson declined the bonafide offer Portland extended in December, reportedly to pursue an opportunity overseas. Earlier this month, he was spotted training with Bay State Soccer League side First Wave.
Sousa, who was named to the Big East All Tournament Team in 2010 while playing at Providence College, was drafted by the New England Revolution in 2011. In 2012, he moved on to Portuguese second division side Operario, before returning to the area to play for Real Boston Rams last year.
In 12 games for the Rams and Ottawa Fury, whom he joined midseason, the Fall River native scored five goals and helped the Fury clinch the Northeast Division.
Earlier this week, Sousa tweeted that he was bound for Rejkjavic, and shortly thereafter, revealed that he had signed with Fylkir.
Happy to announce that I have signed a contract for Fylkir in the Icelandic Premier League. Thanks to… http://t.co/phgCWtKica
— Andrew Sousa (@AndrewSousa10) February 26, 2014
In recent years, a growing number of native Massachusetts players have made the jump overseas. The most notable move involved Attleboro native Geoff Cameron, who transferred to EPL side Stoke City in August 2012.