The New York Red Bulls have agreed to terms with Belgian side Anderlecht for the transfer of U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Sacha Kljestan. New York completed the move by using the top spot in the MLS allocation order, which the club acquired via trade with Montreal on Tuesday.
Per league rules, terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
“This was an extremely complicated transaction that we worked on over the last few weeks,” said Sporting Director Ali Curtis. “There were multiple variables that needed to be managed during the process. Ultimately, we were able to reach a point where we could bring Sacha aboard. I am elated to have Sacha join the club. We are confident that he will have a positive impact on the field, in the community, and with our fans.”
Kljestan has 46 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He was a regular under Bob Bradley, making his senior debut on June 2, 2007, recording an assist in a 4-1 win over China in a friendly. He notably scored a hat trick against Sweden on January 24, 2009, tallying his first three international goals.
He was part of the 2009 Confederations Cup squad that captured the United States’ best finish in a FIFA competition when the U.S. fell to Brazil 3-2 in the final match. Kljestan also represented the U.S. in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches during the 2010 and 2014 cycles.
Kljestan, a native of Huntington Beach, California, broke into MLS in 2006 with Chivas USA, appearing in 32 games, including 31 starts, and recording seven assists, most among MLS rookies. He finished as a runner up in Rookie of the Year voting.
In 2008, Kljestan’s team-leading five goals and eight assists for Chivas USA garnered him MLS Best XI and All-Star honors as well as the club’s MVP award. That same year, he represented the United States in the Beijing Olympics, scoring two goals in the team’s three matches.
Before being selected by Chivas USA in 2006, Kljestan was a college standout at Seton Hall University, just miles from Red Bull Arena, and also played for the U.S. U-20 National Team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships in the Netherlands.
“Sacha is a great player with tremendous experience,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. “We feel that he is a great addition to our roster. He fits into the style of soccer that we want to play, but more importantly he is a man with tremendous character. We are excited to add him to the club and feel that his presence will pay dividends both on the field and in the locker room.”
Marsch and Kljestan were teammates at Chivas USA from 2006-09, and Kljestan was part of USMNT rosters when Marsch served as an assistant under Bob Bradley.
The 29-year-old moved to Anderlecht of the Belgian Pro League in June of 2010. He has made 90 league appearances for Anderlecht and also has experience in both the UEFA Champions League and EUROPA League.
Kljestan will join the team in Orlando, where they are currently holding preseason camp. The team will continue training in Orlando through February 6 before returning home to regroup before the second preseason session in Bradenton, Florida. The second camp gets underway February 16, and will feature at least three games in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic tournament.
The Red Bulls open the 2015 season on the road on Sunday, March 8 against Sporting Kansas City.