Orlando City SC made the Brek Shea move official today in a press conference held at the Snap! Orlando art gallery today. The venue was appropriate because Shea himself is, in reality, an artist. (Here's one of his pieces on display at the presser. -- photo courtesy of The Ruckus)
Prior to the move, Shea had trained with Orlando City during the summer and had become familiar with the club and coach Adrian Heath.
"I really enjoyed my training stint here in the summer and I wanted to make that permanent," said the U.S. International. "I'm excited. I wish the season started next week. I think we'll surprise people."
Speaking on Lions Head Coach Adrian Heath, Shea remarked, "I really liked how he did everything, the way he controlled the players, the way he trained, and I wanted to make that permanent."
According to GM Paul McDonough, Shea will not be a Designated Player. His salary is still unconfirmed.
Heath was noncommittal about the assumption that Shea will play left wing with Kaka and Kevin Molino in the attacking midfield.
"One of the things is he's very versatile," Heath said. "I think he even played center back at one stage for Dallas. We think Brek can play anywhere down the left side for us."
The College Station, TX, native was selected by FC Dallas in the first round (second overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He played 98 games with Dallas over five seasons, scoring 19 goals with 14 assists. His best season came in 2011 when he scored 11 goals and added four assists and was an MLS All-Star. Five of his 11 goals that season were game winners. He was named to the MLS Best XI that year and was a finalist for the Volkswagen MLS MVP award.
He moved to Stoke City in the English Premier League in January of 2013 on a four-year contract for a fee of £2.5 million. He was little used at Stoke, owing largely to foot and knee injuries. The Potters loaned Shea to both Barnsley and Birmingham City over the past couple of seasons. However, things never really seemed to click for Shea and the English clubs, and the decision to come back to the U.S. was made.
"I wanted to come home and I felt like this (Orlando) was the right place and will be for a long time," Shea said.
Speaking of his time in England, Shea called it a learning experience. "It's a different country, different league but I don't regret any of it. I enjoyed it," he said. "It was one of the best times of my life, but it's time to move forward now and use that experience for the future."
Shea also has 27 caps with the USMNT with two goals in senior international competition-both were game winners in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a competition he helped the United States win. His 69th-minute goal against Panama was the only score by either team in the final.