[MLS]It’s not all that surprising that a goalscorer like Edson Buddle could find a foreign club, but the destination is a bit puzzling. Buddle, whose MLS deal with the Galaxy expired last month, has signed with German second division club FC Ingolstadt. The Bavarian club earned promotion from its regional league last spring, and this season is 17th in the 18-team Bundesliga 2 coming out of the winter break.
The second-leading scorer (17 goals) in MLS season, Buddle has left the league after scoring 90 goals for the Crew, Red Bulls, and Galaxy in a 10-year career.
“While I have decided to leave the Galaxy, I do so with fond memories of my four years with the club,” Buddle said in a statement. "I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Los Angeles and will miss my teammates, coaches, staff and everyone who works for the club as they helped make me the player that I am today.
“I also want to thank all of the great Galaxy fans who have supported me ever since I arrived at the club and I am hopeful that one day I will be able to return to the Galaxy and help lead them to an MLS Cup championship.”
Buddle’s base salary last season was $188,448 and he didn’t qualify for a league benchmark allotted to players at least 30 years old and with eight years of service to the league. He did not enter the Re-Entry Draft and trained with English club Birmingham City but would have run into difficulty acquiring a work permit had City or another English club offered him a contract. He doesn’t meet the requirement that a player have appeared in 75 percent of his country’s competitive internationals during the past two years, having played in only two – both in the World Cup – of the 25 competitive U.S. matches in 2009 and 2010.
The Galaxy had reportedly agreed to bump up Buddle significantly in salary but with Landon Donovan and David Beckham already on the books as DP, and Juan Pablo Angel possibly to stay in that category while taking a salary less than the $1.62 million (base salary) he earned in 2010, it couldn’t upgrade Buddle to DP status.
Salaries in the German second division are higher, yet not significantly so, than the average MLS deal. But goalscorers are always highly valued and if Buddle scores the goals that helps Ingolstadt avoid relegation, it will be money well spent.