DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Heavily sought after central defender Oguchi Onyewu has signed with legendary Italian team AC Milan on a free transfer, finally ending months of speculation about his destination

"He has signed a contract until June 2012," assistant communications director Giuseppe Sapienza told YA. "We will release more information in the next few days."

"We believe that this signing will help us greatly in our effort to win the Scudetto and the Champions League."

The hulking defender had seen his stock steadily rise over the last two years, leading Standard Liege to a pair of consecutive league titles as well as in an impressive run to the knockout rounds of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.

While already linked to numerous teams throughout Europe's top leagues throughout the spring and summer, his strong play in central defense during June's Confederations Cup in helping to power the Stars and Stripes to the tournament's final increased his status.

The former Clemson Tiger's name recently became linked to traditional European powerhouses such as Real Madrid, Porto, Fenerbahce and Ajax.

By signing with the seven-time European champions, Onyewu strengthens a back line which saw the retirement of team legend Paolo Maldini at the end of the previous season. He's also guaranteed a spot in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage by way of the team's third-place finish in Serie A.

The team begins their pre-season training in mid-July, before embarking on an exhibition tour which includes the World Football Challenge in various US cities against Chelsea, league rivals Inter Milan and Club América, then followed by the Audi Cup in Munich against FC Bayern, Manchester United and Boca Juniors.

The Rossoneri will then begin their Serie A season in late-August as they attempt to break bitter rivals Inter Milan's string of four consecutive league championships.
Tuesday July 7, 2009 7:53 pm
I'll be in Baltimore for the game. Hopefully they can get his jersey available quickly. I think he has a good shot at starting fairly soon in the season. His presence in the air is something that can't be overlooked.
Tuesday July 7, 2009 3:37 pm
What is this defeatist mentality? "oooh maybe gooch will get some time and not ride the bench..."


Gooch will start from Day One.
Tuesday July 7, 2009 2:53 pm
Well anyway you look at it, this is a huge gamble... but one well worth taking.
Gooch certainly could have signed with a lesser team and have been assured playing time, but to be with one of the truly elite clubs in Europe will give him far more visability... for better or worse.

But this is even more a reason for the US to play and develop other central defenders as he may be harder to get released now for non World Cup Qualifiers. I'm sure I speak for everyone here in wishing him the best of luck and hope he stays free from injury.
Gareth Sleger
Tuesday July 7, 2009 2:23 pm
This is a massive signing for a U.S. player. And what's more, it's a signing based on Onyewu's confirmed talent rather than just potential.

Some might view it as a risky move by Onyewu, but this is definitely the right direction. Established U.S. players like Gooch can't be avoiding powerhouse clubs (cough...Landon..cough) just because they might not get guaranteed playing time. Fighting for starting roles on teams like AC Milan is what makes great players superstars.

We'll just have to see how the season goes for Gooch before he's dubbed the U.S.'s biggest superstar.
Tuesday July 7, 2009 2:05 pm
great, an excuse to go to Milan!
Tuesday July 7, 2009 1:36 pm
While I'm extremely pleased that Gooch will be playing at AC Milan, it will most likely be an uphill battle for him to gain a place in the starting 11. Milan has a lot to prove this year in the scudetto and the Champions League. This being said, Gooch will not have very much wiggle room for mistakes. All the same, it's fantastic to have another American in the Serie A. It's been a long time since I was able to cheer on a fellow American in Italy. I think that Alexi Lalas' goal against AC Milan was the last time. Great Header!!

Good Luck Gooch. I'll see you when you come to San Paolo!!
Tommy AZ USA
Tuesday July 7, 2009 12:37 pm
So happy for Gooch and US. I am o happy that US players are out there in a prominent spot. Hopefully this will get more kids interested in soccer now that they know it is possible to play in the top leagues if the work hard for it.
I was anti-AC Because of Becks, but now I will definitely support AC with Gooch in the back.
Bill in NJ
Tuesday July 7, 2009 11:54 am
Great news, and kudos to Gooch!

Now we can put an end to the snickering that the US doesn't have a single player capable of playing on one of the elite teams in the world.
Tuesday July 7, 2009 10:37 am
Great for Gooch!

I really want to see him play in Baltimore, just 30 miles from where he grew up!
Tuesday July 7, 2009 9:21 am
Too bad Maldini isn't playing 1 more season. It would have been nice to learn from the master for a season. I was hoping ManUtd would take him, as I saw him as a great option to backup Ferdinand and Vidic, those 2 are amazing, but ManUtd feels some pain when one is out, and I thought Gooch would be a perfect guy to fill in the hole. Anyone know the likelihood he'll be a starter in Milan or will he be 3rd or 4th on the depth chart?
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