Former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens is close to continuing his career in Europe.
Sources confirmed to LA Galaxy Insider that Stephens is in Oslo and close to finalizing a deal with Norwegian Tippeligaen club Stabæk. The 24-year-old spent the last three seasons with the LA Galaxy, compiling 94 league appearances with two goals and 12 assists. If signed, Stephens will be the fifth American to play for the club, joining the likes of Ricardo Clark and Mikkel Diskerud.
Stabæk are led by former U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley who took the reins in January after his contract to manage Egypt's national side was not renewed. Bradley is the first American head coach to lead a top division European club.
After being relegated following a seven year stay in the top-flight, De blaa (The Blue Ones) achieved promotion in 2013 with a second place finish in the Adeccoligaen. Stabæk open their 2014 campaign on March 30 against Sogndal.
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Former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens is looking from a new club and that search has taken him to Europe.
According to the American soccer website Yanks Abroad, Stephens will join Norweigan club Stabaek on trial this week. The news comes less than a week after the Galaxy announced that the 24-year-old would not be returning to LA in 2014 after spending the last four years with the club. In 2013, Stephens made 29 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy with one goal and one assist.
"I can confirm that Michael Stephens is arriving Oslo tomorrow morning to do a trial with Stabæk Fotball," Stabaek sporting director Inge Andre Olsen told Yanks Abroad on Tuesday. "We are looking forward to meet Michael. We have not decided yet how long he will stay."
Stabaek are coached by former U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley who took the reins at the club earlier this month.
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CARSON, Calif. – Michael Stephens believes that he needs playing time to progress professionally, but whether he’ll receive that as a member of the LA Galaxy in 2014 is “up in the air” according to the midfielder.
“It was up and down, there were games that played well and then others where I didn't do so good,” Stephens told reporters earlier this month. “Part of that comes with playing time, but they go both hand in hand because if you don’t produce then the playing time won’t be there and it’s hard to produce when the playing time isn't there. It’s a tough balance. ”
During his final media availability, Stephens told reporters that he is out of contract, but he remains in communication with the Galaxy about returning in 2014. Wherever Stephens is playing next season, the 24-year-old knows that he’ll need playing time.
I personally, I want more playing time, but I’m not a guy that is going to be naïve to think that I was in a position where I definitely deserved more playing time. That’s just the way it is and it is something that I want more of going into next year.”