Orlando City today announced that they have signed Stoke City and US International player Brek Shea for the upcoming season. The signing comes after a week of speculation about the future of the former MLS standout who has suffered numerous setbacks after being acquired by Stoke for $4 million in January 2013. Shea arrived in Orlando last night after spending the last few days at Stoke negotiating the details of the move to the Lions.
“Brek is one of the key ‘finishing touches’ to a high-quality, competitive squad that Paul McDonough and Adrian Heath have assembled over the past several weeks and months,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins. “His pedigree, success in MLS and on the international stage pair well with the experience, youth and talent already present here in Orlando. We can’t wait for preseason training to start so the Lions can take to the pitch and prepare for our much-anticipated debut.”
The 6-foot-3, 181-pound College Station native is set to play to the left of Kaká and Kevin Molino in Head Coach Adrian Heath’s 4-2-3-1 formation. The attacking midfielder brings the MLS experience that Orlando City has been searching for this off season as it builds its roster.
After a standout high school career in Texas, Shea bypassed college to turn professional and sign a Generation Adidas contract. Once he was moved into a midfielder role for FC Dallas, he excelled, winning MLS Player of the Week Awards 3 times in 2011.
Shea would follow up his break out season with a string of injuries in 2012, but this didn’t dampen the interested he received from Europe as Stoke City picked him up in January 2013 for a 2.5 million pound transfer fee. Though he did not play very much with the Potters and was sent on several loan spells, many feel that a return to MLS can bring him back to form.
“I can’t speak enough about the talent and passion that Brek brings to the squad,” said Coach Heath. “Having had a chance to watch him train with us over the summer, I was impressed with the caliber of player he is and with his desire to win. I think those qualities fit well with our style of play, our team’s philosophy and the other talented players on our squad. We have a lot work to do to prepare for the start of the season but we have a talented roster with which to start.”
Off the pitch, Shea is a talented artist and often uses his art to raise money for charitable causes. His work can be found online at www.leftfootstudio.com.
Now enjoy some highlights of the latest Lion:
Follow him on Twitter @BrekShea