Hunter Freeman has literally come in from the cold.
The Houston Dynamo unveiled the Texan native on Friday as their newest signing, acquiring the defender’s rights from the New York Red Bulls for allocation money. Freeman returns to the league after two seasons in the Norwegian league with IK Start.
“Not just being back in the U.S., but being back in my home state, it feels good already,” said Freeman, who was born in Tyler and grew up in the Dallas area. “[The] Dynamo is an organization I wanted to come to, and it all worked out in the end, and I’m happy to be here.”
Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said Friday that he has had his eye on the defender over the years. Freeman spent four seasons in MLS with Colorado, New York, and Toronto FC before moving abroad, and he was also on the 2007 Generation adidas team Kinnear took to Spain.
“That’s when I really got to know him, and we developed a little bit of a relationship between each other,” Freeman said of the Dynamo coach. “I always respected him. Stu Holden always talked highly of him, as many other players do. I always said, ‘Man, that’s the guy I’d like to play for.’”
[inline_node:307875]The chance to return to the States and play for a strong coach was too much for Freeman to pass up, not to mention the fact that he will get another opportunity to play a different brand of soccer than what he experienced in Norway. He expects his return to MLS to be smooth, and believes his time in Norway has prepared him to transition back to the league in which he spent the first four years of his professional career.
Freeman signed a Gen adidas contract in 2004 before being selected by the Rapids seventh overall in the 2005 SuperDraft out of the University of Virginia. He’s also a former residency player from the Bradenton academy and has played for several U.S. youth national teams.
The 25-year-old hopes that his athleticism will translate back to MLS, which he believes is slightly higher than that of the Norwegian Tippeligaen in terms of speed. The bigger transition may be for his wife, Jaime, who was playing professionally for Amazon Grimstad in Norway and played her collegiate soccer at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
“It was a tough decision, but she is also excited to be home,” Freeman said.