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Freeman back home after two years in Norway
by Ridge Mahoney, December 22nd, 2010 2:02AM

TAGS:  americans abroad, houston dynamo, mls


[MLS] One of those players who got away to Europe has come home. Texas native Hunter Freeman, who left MLS two years ago to sign with Norwegian club IK Start, has joined the Houston Dynamo’s rebuilding effort.

“Not just being back in the U.S., but being back in my home state, it feels good already,” said Freeman at a press conference announcing his arrival. He was born in Tyler and grew up in Allen, near Dallas. “[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 sent allocation money to New York, which retained his rights when he left the league after earlier playing for Colorado and Toronto FC, to acquire a player who first impressed Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear when he took a Generation adidas team to Spain in 2007.

“I’m very happy to acquire Hunter,” Kinnear said in a team press release. “I’ve always liked the way he plays. He can play on the left or right, he likes to attack, and I enjoyed his company when I worked with him on a Generation adidas trip. So I’m happy to see him come back to MLS and playing for us.”

Freeman, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound defender, played for the USA at the 2005 U-20 World Cup and was briefly a member of the U-23 squad. He, too, remembers that trip to Spain as significant.

“That’s when I really got to know him, and we developed a little bit of a relationship between each other,” said Freeman of Kinnear. “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.’”

Freeman, 25, played at the University of Virginia and signed a Generation adidas contract prior to being drafted by the Rapids as the seventh overall pick of the 2005 SuperDraft. He played 84 MLS regular-season games mostly at right back or left back. In two seasons with IK Start, he played 51 matches.

Houston also received New York’s third-round pick in the 2012 SuperDraft in the deal.

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