The Dynamo have finalized a deal to bring former club and country standout Ricardo Clark back to Houston.
After agreeing to the terms of a deal with Clark last Friday, the Dynamo received the final paperwork and an international transfer certificate on Thursday to bring the World Cup veteran back from German Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt through the end of the 2014 season.
“We have been able to conclude a deal to bring Ricardo Clark back to Houston and making him a member of the Dynamo once again,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “We have been tracking his career in recent months and wondering if the opportunity would come up to reacquire him and now that it has, we were able to find a suitable agreement for all parties to bring him back.”
While the deal is finalized, Houston will have to wait to officially add Clark to the roster until outgoing center back Geoff Cameron’s move to English Premier League side Stoke City is completed. Cameron’s personal contract and a transfer agreement with his new club have been signed, but the deal is still pending him winning an appeal for a work permit, scheduled for August 8.
Until then, Clark will not be able to appear for the Dynamo in an MLS match, but can train with the club.
The Dynamo retained the rights to Clark after making a significant contract offer to retain his services in 2009. He’s expected to fit into the holding midfield role he played in his first stint with the club, which ran for four successful seasons starting in 2006.
His ability to defend sideline to sideline and break up play in front of the back line should also come in handy in Houston’s current 4-3-3 system, which has them second in the Eastern Conference standings this season through 22 games.
While in Houston, Clark made 97 appearances for the club and played an integral role in the Dynamo winning two MLS Cup titles – although he did not play in either of the 2006 or 2007 title matches due to suspension – and helped get the club to the 2009 Western Conference Championship.
Clark departed MLS for Eintracht after the 2009 season but found playing time scarce, making just 15 appearances over more than two years before going on loan to Stabæk in Norway in February. Still, he won enough favor with former US national team head coach Bob Bradley to earn a roster spot in the 2010 World Cup, and started two games for the Americans in South Africa.
With Frankfurt choosing to cut ties with Clark earlier this year, however, the Dynamo were able to bring home a fan favorite with hope that he will pick up where he left off before leaving the club.
“We never wanted to lose Ricardo in the first place,” Canetti said. “We thought he was one of our top players and we, of course, have his image on a pillar in Houston. So he was not only a good player but a popular player. He’s a good player with good pedigree and hopefully he can come back to Houston and make contributions and help lead us through the playoffs again.”