Two ’07 Wizards Find New Teams

Ryan Raybould, waived last month after playing three seasons in Kansas City, signed with Swedish side Sandvikens IF yesterday.  While some may scoff at the prospect of playing in the 4th division, this article gives a good glimpse into Ryan’s perspective (translated below):

Yesterday, the American Ryan Raybould signed for Sandvikens IF.  The club has made its most spectacular signing in many years.  The question is how long he’ll be staying.  “It would be a dream to play in the Allsvenska (top tier),” the 24-year-old said. 

The contract, which is for the full season, was signed yesterday afternoon.  But the club’s chief, Peter Svensson, is still worried.  This is the first signing the club has made outside of Europe, and there may be unexpected paperwork.  “It’s been done quickly.  I don’t want to celebrate too early,” says Svensson.

All the involved parties have an understanding that the American, who has played 20 matches in the MLS, may leave Sandviken in division 2 when the window opens in July.  Raybould though says his focus lies with Sandviken.  “The players in the team have made me feel like family.  Now I want to help them as much as I can.  That’s my focus.  If I do a good job on the field, opportunities will come my way,” he says.

Raybould is the biggest signing Sandviken has made in the last 30 years, together with Stuart McManus and the English national team player Kevin Beattie who played there in the 80’s.  Raybould explains how he ended up in Swedish division 2.  “I knew someone in Stockholm who had connections.  When my contract with the Wizards expired, I contacted him and ended up here.  I thought it was time for a change.  I want to grow and learn more about the tactical play of soccer – I think I will get that here.”

Tony Jennevret, the sports committee chairman, is pleased and proud.  “This is huge for us.  He’s a player with good merits who we’ve tied up.  We feel like we can’t do wrong at the moment.  We had some good signings for this season and then this guy turns up,” he said.

If Ryan Raybould gets his way, he would play central midfield.  But during his two seasons at the Wizards, he was used mainly at right back.  Those who’ve seen him play describe the American as a fit and athletic player.  Raybould likes to describe himself as a possession player though.  “I don’t like kick and run soccer.  In the US we played a lot of possession and passing, and I’ve been told that Sandviken does that as well,” Raybould said.

Raybould never faced Beckham in the MLS, but he’s played against other stars.  He’s also used to playing in front of a lot of people.  He’s not a bad signing for Sandviken.

The other player moving on from last year’s Wizards squad is 2007 3rd-round draft pick and 2006 NCAA All-American, Edson Elcock.  He was invited to pre-season with the USL’s Puerto Rico Islanders.  The Islanders are coached by former FC-Dallas boss Colin Clarke.  Edson, a Trinidad and Tobago international, came to the Wizards with high expectations but did not make an appearance in his rookie season and was waived in the offseason. 

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