Veteran Dutch defender Braafheid cancels contract to come to U.S.

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Plenty of soccer players around the Europe are linked with vague moves to leagues in the United States and Canada, but it’s rare to see what happened on Wednesday.

FC Utrecht in the Netherlands announced that it had mutually terminated the contract of defender Edson Braafheid after Braafheid decided to “permanently move” to the U.S. with his American wife and kids.

“My family is very important to me, that has now been shown again during the holidays,” Braafheid said in a statement. “Together with my American wife and children, I permanently move to America and I want to take the time to come to a definitive decision about my football career. The feeling has been playing through my head for a long time. This, combined with the small number of minutes of play, made me decide to cancel my contract.”

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Braafheid came up as a professional with Utrecht and after a strong run at FC Twente, he earned a place in the Netherlands National Team as well as a move to Bayern Munich. But the German adventure didn’t pan out and Braafheid has bounced between clubs, struggling to find regular playing time for the past seven years.

It’s unclear which club he could go to, although one logical landing spot, at least on a trial basis, would be the Philadelphia Union, considering their technical director is Dutch-American Ernie Stewart.

But aside from the LA Galaxy, which are reported to be re-signing Ashley Cole, there probably aren’t many clubs looking at signing an aging left back to their roster for the upcoming season.

For Braafheid at least, he can consider himself one of the few to cancel his contract and journey to the unknown in the U.S.