DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, December 22, 2009
With his current club FC Ingolstadt beginning its winter break, Ian Joy is mulling over a winter move away from the 3. Liga team with a move back stateside for the upcoming Major League Soccer season a distinct possibility.

Joy joined the current 3. Liga leaders in mid-September as a provisional signing with the possibility for a longer-term deal, however he admits that he may be forced to move on sooner than originally hoped.

"The club is not in a bad financial state [...]," the former St. Pauli told YA, "but four months ago they told me that they would not sign a player until one left as there are already 27 guys on the roster."

"Unless someone leaves during the winter then it seems like it will be the same situation."

"There might still be a way for me to stay," he continues, "but as I have been playing here for the last four months without a monthly salary, common sense tells you that something has to give.

Ingolstadt's recent success in establishing themselves as mid-season promotion favorites may have hurt is cause, as the team has jumped to the top of the 3. Liga in the course of their current hot streak, the duration of which the California native has been sidelined with a slight injury after starting the three previous games.

"Recently I had a tight hamstring that would not release and forced me to take a step back from high intensity training and therefore games," he explains.

"[It was] just a bit of bad timing though as I was playing very well and the team has gone on to win four in a row since."

In weighing his winter possibilities, the left back still has his sights first set on remaining in Germany, but nevertheless feels a pull to several MLS clubs, whether it be for the start of the 2010 season or after several more years in Europe.

"Ideally I would like to stay in Ingolstadt but [...] I am completely open to all options," he explains. "Staying in Europe would be the better option financially, but I have always said that I would love to return to MLS one day and I have to admit I have missed it a lot since I left."

While his most recent MLS stint came with Western Conference team Real Salt Lake, Joy singles out a pair of east coast works-in-progress as destinations he sees as holding the potential to fulfill his hunger for an MLS Cup trophy.

"I get excited when I see teams like Philadelphia coming into the league with a great fan following and a top head coach," he admits. "Then you have to look at the New York Red Bulls who are in my opinion a sleeping giant and I have a feeling that they could be onto something special with Erik Soler in charge."

"[He is] a man with a great deal of experience, and New York also has a fantastic fan base who deserve better than what the team has produced in recent years."

With the coming months possibly providing another career-defining step, the former USA youth international identifies a natural attribute he feels will give him a leg up with potential suitors on both sides of the Atlantic - his accustomed position on he left side of defense.

"Many teams in the world are looking for a left back so I count myself very lucky to have a left foot and to be able to play at such a high level in that position," he states.

"I think that I am interesting for many MLS teams as I bring a lot of experience and play a specialty position in left back," Joy continues.

"In Germany my goal is to get back to the 2. Bundesliga and it might be a possibility as a few teams are in the market for a left back so we will just see how things go."

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