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Page last updated at 19:43 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Ljungberg makes switch to Seattle

Freddie Ljungberg
Ljungberg left West Ham by mutual consent earlier this year

Freddie Ljungberg has become the latest big-name player to move to Major League Soccer after signing to play for the Seattle Sounders.

The 31-year-old former Arsenal and Sweden star has made a two-year commitment to the MLS newcomers in a deal reported to be worth $5m a year.

He had been without a club since leaving West Ham by mutual consent over the summer.

"I'm really happy to be here, I feel so welcomed by everybody," he said.

Ljungberg made the decision to join the MLS despite friends telling him to stay in Europe.

"I'm coming here because I want to play football and I see this as a great experience and I want to make it a better league and develop it," he added.

"I felt if I was going to do this as a sincere thing, I should go now. I shouldn't go in three years when I'm past my peak.

"I wanted a new experience and I think it will be good for me."

Sounders co-owner and Hollywood director Joe Roth compared the signing of Ljungberg to the deal that took David Beckham to the LA Galaxy in the summer of 2007.

"I would say in terms of significance to the league, he is certainly one of the two significant European players to come so far," Roth said.

The Sounders are backed by Roth and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, as well as a number of minority owners including comedian Drew Carey.

Seattle will join MLS next season as the league's 15th team and they have already sold more than 17,000 season tickets.

Ljungberg joins former Tottenham and Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Kasey Keller - a Seattle native - as well as midfielder Sanna Nyassi and striker Sebastien Le Toux as the only players on the club's roster at present.

They will acquire more players when an expansion draft is held on 26 November.

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see also
Ljungberg agrees to leave Hammers
06 Aug 08 |  West Ham
West Ham swoop to sign Ljungberg
23 Jul 07 |  West Ham

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