The New England Revolution have announced today, via press release, that they have put pen to paper and signed Swedish forward Bjorn Runstrom. Runstrom, who trialed with the Revolution in Arizona during the preseason and scored one goal in three appearances, will be added to the roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and his International Transfer Certificate. Per usual policies, contract details were not disclosed.
"Bjorn's signing provides us another attacking option and some flexibility on the field," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "He has extensive experience in Europe and he fit in well with our group in Arizona when he was training with us. As soon as all his Visa documents are in order, we look forward to his arrival and integrating him into the team."
Runstrom's career got its start in the Hammarby IF youth system in Sweden, but he moved to Bologna in Italy as a teenager. He was transferred to Chievo Verona before making a professional appearance, and debuted there, but made only limited appearances before being shipped off again, this time to Fiorentina. He did not have a good stay there, either, and eventually returned to Hammarby, where he had the most productive period of his career, making 57 appearances and scoring 18 goals over the course of two-and-a-half seasons.
This production earned him a move to English Premier League side Fulham in 2006, but after just half a season there he was loaned to Luton Town for the stretch run of the 2006-2007 season. Fulham then loaned him to Kaiserslautern in Germany for the 2007-2008 campaign.
This prompted a return to Sweden, this time with Odense, tallying seven goals and two assists in 30 appearances over 18 months before accepting a loan move to Molde FK in Denmark. The Spring of 2010 brought him a goal and an assists in 17 appearances with Molde. Runstrom then moved back to Hammarby in 2011, and made 24 appearances, producing three goals and three assists. He departed Hammarby after supposedly clashing with former USA international and newly-appointed manager Gregg Berhalter.
Runstrom is a traditional target man according to most people who have watched him. His performances in Tucson would support that assumption. New England is anything but deep at forward - or really anywhere except maybe in midfield - so on that note, this could be seen as a good move.
Still, Runstrom looks like a European Jose Moreno, but younger. He's a journeyman without a great scoring record who is supposed to be a hold-up guy. With Blake Brettschneider also groomed into the target man role, one has to wonder who is going to be the odd man out. New England has the room on the roster to carry all of them, but does it behoove the Revolution to carry three like-minded players? Especially when two of them occupy valuable international slots? It remains to be seen.
Bjorn does have one thing going for him - of the three, he's the only player who has scored a goal in a Revolution shirt, even if it was only preseason.
Pronunciation: beYORN RUN-strum
Date of Birth: March 1, 1984 (Stockholm, Sweden)
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Weight: 175 lbs.
Previous Club: Hammarby IF (SWE)
Jersey Number: 32