Major League Soccer entered the final month of 2011 this past week, and with it, came an increase in player movement around the league, as clubs look to improve for 2012. While some players found new homes, others decided to stay right where they are.
The league's newest team, Montreal Impact, naturally took many of the headlines, as their identity was further revealed with the unveiling of their new jerseys.
Let's take a closer look.
On the move
Montreal made impressions on the player front by acquiring two experienced MLS campaigners in former Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud and Jamaican international goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. While it is a bit early to have a clear idea on what the 2012 Impact will look like on the pitch, it is a very safe bet that fans will see plenty of Arnaud and Ricketts in Jesse Marsch's starting XI.
Other clubs that started to show indications of a new look for 2012 were Sporting KC and San Jose Earthquakes. Before heading to the Netherlands to take charge of the MLS Generation adidas tour squad, Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes secured the services of Paulo Nagamura (Chivas USA) and Bobby Convey (San Jose) in the American Midwest. In Northern California, Earthquakes head coach in Vancouver native and former Canadian international Frank Yallop continued to re-shape his squad by bringing Shea Salinas back to San Jose from Whitecaps FC and landing Haiti international Jean Alexandre from Real Salt Lake. RSL also saw another departure from Utah, as defender Robbie Russell moved east to D.C. United.
Aron Winter's ongoing player shuffle at Toronto FC saw FC Dallas defender Jeremy Hall become the latest arrival in Southern Ontario. He joins former Whitecaps FC midfielder Terry Dunfield at BMO Field, who underwent successful hernia surgery this week.
While some players found new homes, others confirmed they were staying right where they are. FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez, Houston Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell, and the Portland Timbers pair of goalkeeper Troy Perkins and defender David Horst all extended their contracts.
Joining those staying in place is New England Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. The 33-year-old's new terms now make the Grenada international a Designated player, with Revolution president Brian Bilello stating it was a 'priority' for the Massachusetts outfit to retain Joseph. "Everyone was on the same page that we needed to get Shalrie back,” said Bilello.
What's old is new again
The unveiling of the new Montreal Impact jerseys showed that sticking with tradition is usually a sensible approach for an established club making the jump to MLS. The make, logo, and design may be different, but the Impact's simple blue and white colour scheme is certainly what we all know of our 'friends' from Quebec.
It is interesting that similar clubs like Montreal did not venture too far away from their original identity, and instead, stayed true to themselves. Portland, Seattle, San Jose, and Vancouver all took their original foundations and enhanced them for their current eras as MLS clubs. It is understandable, if not refreshing, to see these traditions carry themselves forward. For that, Montreal should be applauded for staying true to who they are in becoming the 19th team in the league.