[AMERICANS ABROAD]Former Duke All-American forward Mike Grella, who passed up MLS to sign with Leeds United in 2009 but never secured regular playing time, has joined Brentford of League One (third division).
In 42 league and cup matches matches for Leeds, Grella scored five goals – three of them in the FA Cup – and played another 18 matches (four goals) on loan to Carlisle United and Swindon Town. Last Saturday he debuted from Brentford in a 2-0 home loss to Tranmere after he and Leeds mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
Grella, 24, was born in Glen Cove, N.Y., and played for the U.S. at the U-18 and U-20 levels. He was a 2003 and 2004 Parade Magazine High School All-American and the 2004 NSCAA High School Player of the Year. He scored 10 goals in 17 games for the Long Island Rough Riders in 2007 and in four collegiate seasons scored 41 goals and registered 17 assists. The NSCAA named him a first-team All-America in 2008.
Toronto FC picked him in the third round of the 2009 SuperDraft but he instead went on trial with Leeds and initially signed an 18-month contract. During the 2009-10 season, as a backup he helped Leeds gain promotion from Division One to the League Championship but was sent out on loan the following season. Last May Leeds chairman Ken Bates told him he was no longer in the team’s plans.