Norwegian Team Acquires United's Perkins

Saturday, December 22, 2007

D.C. United has agreed to transfer Troy Perkins to a Norwegian club, ending a four-year association in which the goalie evolved from an undrafted rookie who kept a part-time job to one of the best keepers in Major League Soccer.

Oslo-based Valerenga will pay approximately $750,000 for Perkins, who signed a five-year contract valued at an estimated $200,000 annually, more than doubling what he made this year. United will collect two-thirds of the transfer fee (the balance goes to MLS) and, under the league's complicated player acquisition rules, will be able to apply a portion of it toward future signings.

In anticipation of Perkins's departure, United acquired goalie Zach Wells from the Houston Dynamo last week.

United officials declined comment, citing unresolved minor details.

Despite not being selected in the 2004 draft, Perkins impressed the coaching staff during training camp and earned a developmental contract that paid him $850 per month. He supplemented his income by working at a sporting goods store and later, after earning a raise to around $30,000 per year, processed mortgage loan applications for a local bank.

Last winter, after winning the MLS goalkeeper of the year award, Perkins signed a long-term contract starting at $87,500. But he was open to the idea of playing in Europe, where several American goalies have blossomed, and when Valerenga approached United this month, negotiations commenced.

Perkins, 26, will be among at least six Americans playing in the Norwegian league, which has a 14-team first division and is considered to be in the third tier of European club soccer. Valerenga is a five-time league champion, most recently in 2005. He will report to training camp Jan. 3.

In 77 regular season appearances in MLS, Perkins had a 1.22 goals against average and 19 shutouts.

-- Steven Goff

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