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Former MVPs find new homes
by Paul Kennedy, February 11th, 2014 4:15PM

TAGS:  colombia, mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Two former MLS MVPs, both now 34, have returned to their homelands in one last bid to extend their careers. David Ferreira, who was never the same for FC Dallas after suffering an ankle injury in 2011, joined first-place Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia, while Carlos Ruiz is back in Guatemala for the first time in more than a decade, with Municipal, where his introduction drew hundreds of fans. For a look at the new homes of those who left MLS.

Ferreira was the MLS MVP in 2010 in leading FC Dallas to MLS Cup, where it lost in overtime to the Colorado Rapids. But the ankle injury suffered the next season sidelined him for much of the season. He returned to play 17 games in 2012 and 30 in 2013, finishing with nine assists in both seasons. His 37 assists in five seasons rank third all-time among FC Dallas players.

Ferreira began his career with minor league clubs Expreso Rojo and Real Cartagena in Colombia before joining America de Cali, with which he won three league titles, before moving to Brazil's Atletico Paranaense in 2005. Dallas had a partnership with Atletico Paranaense that facilitated his move to MLS in 2009.

The diminutive playmaker joins Independiente Santa Fe, which is first in the Torneo Apertura with wins in its first four games. It is coached by former New York and Chicago coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

Ruiz was the MLS MVP in 2002, his first season in the league with the champion LA Galaxy, and he went on to play for five MLS clubs in a career broken up by stints in Honduras, Mexico and Greece.

Ruiz says his goal is to bring the league title back to Municipal. Los Rojos have won 29 championships -- more than any other Guatemalan club -- but none since 2011.

Also finding new homes ...

-- After starting for two seasons with the New York Red Bulls, Swedish defender Markus Holgersson has moved to English League Championship club Wigan Athletic. The Red Bulls and he agreed to part ways after the 2013 season.

-- Austrian keeper Michael Gspurning, who started for two seasons with Seattle, has returned to Greece, with PAOK. He had spent five seasons in Greece with Skoda Xanthi before joining the Sounders in 2012 when he was an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist.

-- Dutch striker Danny Koevermans, whose stint at Toronto FC was marred by injuries, is back in the Netherlands at FC Utrecht, Juan Agudelo's new club. Koevermans is signed through the end of the 2013-14 Eredivisie season.

-- Colombian striker Lionard Pajoy, who scored 10 goals in two seasons at Philadelphia and D.C. United, has signed with La Equidad, his eighth Colombian club in a decade.

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