Last year’s move back to Major League Soccer was supposed to reignite Benny Feilhaber’s career. Instead, the 27-year-old midfielder is out of a job, with the New England Revolution having declined the 2013 option on the former U.S. international’s contract.
New England beat man Kyle McCarthy confirmed the news today, also noting that New England will retain the rights to the former Hamburg, Derby, and Aarhus player. Put two and two together and Feilhaber, who had a salary of $400,000 in 2012, is a strong candidate to return to Europe.
Over the course of two seasons in New England, Feilhaber made 52 appearances, posting five goals and nine assists. The numbers do a good job of approximating his contributions. At times (albeit infrequently), Feilhaber was New England’s best player. At others, he failed to make an impact, and after being tried both wide and in the middle, Feilhaber finished 2013 season without a clear role in Jay Heaps’ side.
Feilhaber’s best known for his contributions to Bob Bradley’s U.S. Men’s National Teams where he held down a super sub’s role prior to the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann. Since, Feilhaber’s been a non-factor internationally, currently stuck on 39 caps. While many hoped a move out of the Austrian second division would boost the former UCLA Bruin’s national team hopes, his career has stalled.
Now it’s unclear what Feilhaber can do. In the U.S., he is respected for what he brought to the national team, contributions he was able to leverage to hook up with New England. Abroad, there might be some interest from an Aarhus-esque club in Denmark, but with two decent years in New England as the last lines on his resume, his best-case scenario seems a trade within MLS. Else, it’s take what he can get abroad.
There’s no shortage of MLS clubs that could use a Feilhaber. At his best, he can contribute for anybody. The money, however, is an issue. Feilhaber will need to take a significant step back in compensation to make sense for any Major League Soccer team.