DAVID SMITH - Friday, January 16, 2009
2008 Hermann Award winner Marcus Tracy has signed a contract with Danish team Aalborg BK.
"The contract is for three years," AaB sporting director Lynge Jakobsen told YA. "He is in Aalborg now so he'll join with training tomorrow. He'll stay here from now on."
Negotiations on the three-year contract were completed Thursday afternoon, coincidentally hours before the Major League Soccer draft which Tracy had previously predicted to be taken as the first overall pick before making his European aspirations known in early-January.
The Wake Forest standout capped his four-year career with a stellar season on the field in 2008, notching up 13 goals and 10 assists, while drawing accolades on most end-of-season awards lists. During his stay with the Demon Deacons, Tracy proved to be one of the most coveted players in the US college system, totaling 30 goals and 23 assists, while leading his team to the 2007 national championship.
His impressive tenure did not go unnoticed in European circles, having caught the eye of new AaB coach Magnus Pehrsson long before the Swede took over the reigns of the club.
"We've got a new coach from the first of January, Magnus Pehrsson," Jakobsen explained. "He has seen Tracy play, had seen him in videos and knows people who know this player, so he was the one who said we could sign him and that he was a good idea for the future."
With on-loan Polish international forward Marek Saganowski having returned to Southampton at the beginning of the year, Aalborg will be looking for a rejuvenation of their front line, however the team is taking the patient approach, expecting Tracy to need several months to adjust to the European game.
"This player is coming from thr USA and he played in the university system, so we don't expect him to be ready [immediately]," Jakobsen admitted. "I think he needs a few months. How many months I of course can't say but I think he needs more time to be ready for the first team."
While he is not expected to jump into the squad which will be competing in the UEFA Cup in mid-February, the Aalborg management remains cautiously optimistic that Tracy could play a factor in the coming months.
"He'll [still] be training with the first team so hopefully he'll surprise me and be ready before. But the expectation from the coach and I is that he needs more time."
Tracy steps into an Aalborg team that has underachieved in the Superliga all season, despite having won the league championship in 2007/08. They currently sit a disappointing sixth in the standings at the season's midway point, having only crawled out of the league's cellar in the final weeks before the long three-month winter layoff.
Aalborg are currently on their winter break, with league play resuming on March against AC Horsens. The team sees action sooner, however, with a home-and-home series in the UEFA Cup round of 32 against Spain's Deportivo La Coruņa on February 18 and 26.