Japanese international Keisuke Honda is believed to be headed for Major League Soccer after the player became a free agent at the end of the Serie A season with AC Milan.
Honda is currently training in Southern California with United Soccer League team Orange County SC, who play in the second-tier of the United States and Canadian soccer pyramid. Despite training with the team, Honda is expected to sign for Seattle Sounders or possibly the Los Angeles Galaxy. Both teams are currently in need of a top-quality playmaker, which Honda can offer either side, as neither can be considered the league’s top tier of teams for 2017.
News of Honda training in California was broken by Japan’s Nikkan Sports. Orange County SC released a statement about Honda’s activity with the club which read:
“[Honda is with the team] as part of his offseason training that he is conducting in the U.S.” The statement went on to say, “He [Honda] is also here to learn more about Orange County SC,” when asked if the Japanese player would be signing with the club.
If Honda were to sign with Orange County SC, it would be quite a coup for a team plying their trade in the promotion and relegation lacking USL soccer league.
Honda had been linked with a Seattle Sounders last January, but decided against leaving AC Milan until the club’s sale was completed. It was also a chance for the player to see if he had a future at the Italian club. Honda endured a very difficult time with AC Milan after being highly sought after by the Italians. He joined the team in January 2014 to much fanfare, but failed to hold down a position for much of his tenure. In all, Honda scored just 11 goals in 91 appearances for AC Milan.
While Honda is expected to sign for Seattle or LA Galaxy, there is still the chance he could be the first marquee signing to new MLS franchise Los Angeles FC. The new club opens play in MLS next season and have been linked with big money deals for the likes of former Manchester United star Javier Hernandez.
Keisuke Honda 2016-17 key stats:
- 1 goal in 8 Serie A appearances
- 1.4 key passes per Serie A appearance
- 220 minutes of playing time in Serie A
- 0.5 shots per Serie A appearance