On January 20, Atlanta Silverbacks announced they had brought back former star striker Matt Horth. After impressing with Atlanta for two seasons, the Revolution signed Horth ahead of the 2013 season. While doing enough during preseason to earn a contract, Jay Heaps and the rest of the coaching staff thought Horth was an ideal candidate for the club's affiliation partnership with Rochester Rhinos.
In Rochester for the 2013 season, Horth played 863 minutes in 16 appearances but only scored 1 goal and 1 assist. The Rhinos suffered through the 2013 campaign and Horth also endured a handful of nagging injuries along the way.
At the end of the season, the Revs didn't think the former three-time NSCAA All-New England selection would improve enough to factor into the first team and waived Horth on November 22. No other team picked up the Ohio native and Horth came to terms with his former club at the end of January.
Seemingly out of nowhere, just 18 days later, the Silverbacks announced that Horth had decided to join Icelandic second division team Leiknir Reykjavjk. That's right, he's going to play in the second division of Iceland. Living the dream of playing professional in Europe is, no doubt, something amazing, but does the 1. deild karla really count?
As a point of comparison, two amateur players from Trinidad and Tobago who went to college in the U.S. just signed with an Icelandic Premier League team. Forward Jonathan Glenn, who played with Vermont Voltage in PDL and Jacksonville United in NPSL, signed for one year while wide midfielder Dominic Adams, who played with Colorado Rapids U-23 and Vermont Voltage both of the PDL, signed a two-year deal with ÍBV.
In a transaction similar to Horth's, Rochester's recently acquired goalkeeper Alex Horwath, about whom I wrote briefly last month, has just signed a deal with Swedish second division club Ljungskile SK. Ljungskile head coach Tor-Arne Fredheim told local media that he was impressed by Horwath's consistency over the past two seasons in USL-Pro and that current American wide player Aaron Nichols also recommended Horwath to the club.
Horwath had been on at least a two-week long trial in Sweden despite already signing a contract with the Rhinos. Head coach Bob Lilley told local radio program Kick This! on Saturday, "Alex has been sold to a club in Sweden.. We signed him in late December... he went on trial there and they're signing him, so we've been compensated for that."
If the player was signed in December, why did the Rhinos wait, while other teams were making announcements to stay relevant in the offseason, until January 23 to announce his acquisition, just 8 days before he was presented to fans and media at Ljungskile SK?
Unless his agent had little to no faith in Horwath's ability to stick in Europe, why did he sign a contract with Rochester before heading out on trial?
While the transfer fee is not going to be near six-figures, it is significant that Lilley was able to get any money at all for a player the Rhinos signed on a free transfer a month earlier. Perhaps the return of the wheeler and dealer in Lilley has already shifted the fortunes of Rochester, as the team reported it had "the second highest salary in USL PRO" in 2013.