Diego Restrepo, the former University of Virginia goalkeeper who made several starts for America de Cali in his first pro season this year, is moving to Venezeulan club Tachira after the Colombian side was relegated.
Restrepo, an American who was born in Venezuela and lived in Colombia before settling in Miami, had also attracted interest from Mexican club Pachuca in the fall and MLS and Colombian teams this winter. Tachira, a seven-time first-tier champion, will compete this year in Copa Libertadores for the 13th time since 1980, grouped with Corinthians (Brazil), Cruz Azul (Mexico) and Nacional (Paraguay).
Tachica (5-7-5, 20 points) finished 13th among 18 teams in the recently completed Apertura.
“Back to the country where I was born excited me,” Restrepo said on Tachira’s Web site. “This is a new challenge in my career.”
Meantime, U.S. forward Charlie Davies, who spent the 2011 MLS season with D.C. United on loan from Sochaux, is scheduled to return to the French club next week to begin workouts. Whether Davies remains at Sochaux is unclear, however. One source tells me a Danish club has shown interest.
Early this month United declined to exercise an option to purchase Davies’s contract for an estimated $1.3 million. Although DCU retained his league rights and could’ve traded him, Davies seemed more interested in returning to Europe than moving to another MLS club.
Elsewhere overseas, Odense under-17 winger Sebastian Clark, who has U.S. and Danish citizenship, is going to go on trial with Fulham, his father told the Insider. And U.S. under-17 national team midfielder Matt Dunn is close to transferring to OFK Beograd from Cologne after a three-month trial at the Serbian club.
On the college front, Virginia sophomore attacker Brian Span has departed Charlottesville to sign with Djurgarden in Sweden. He had trained with Orebro (Sweden) and Hoffenheim (Germany) last summer, and was intent on heading overseas once the college season ended.
Maryland senior forward Casey Townsend (17 goals in 21 matches) has signed with MLS ahead of next week’s scouting combine in Florida and Jan. 12 draft in Kansas City. He was among a four seniors to receive contract packages larger than typically offered to fourth-year college players. The others: Connecticut midfielder Tony Cascio, Louisville midfielder Nick DeLeon and UC Santa Barbara midfielder Luis Silva.
Maryland’s other pro prospects are expected to remain in school: left back Taylor Kemp, center back London Woodberry, midfielder John Stertzer (14 goals) and forward Patrick Mullins (six).
Leaving the college ranks early to sign Generation Adidas contracts with MLS were UCSB forward Sam Garza, UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman, Akron forward Darren Mattocks, UCLA midfielder Kelyn Rowe and Duke midfielder-defender Andrew Wenger.