CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, July 8, 2009) – The LA Galaxy today agreed to terms with Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Chris Birchall. The 25-year-old received his P1 Visa on Monday and will officially be added to the club’s roster upon the receipt of his International Transfer Clearance (ITC), which cannot happen until the transfer window re-opens on Wednesday, July 15. Therefore, the first game for which Birchall will be eligible to play for the club is July 16 at New York . Per team and league regulations, details of the contract were not released.
“Chris is a player that I’ve tracked for a number of years,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “He is an experienced midfielder with good qualities on both sides of the ball who I feel he will be able to contribute immediately as we push for a playoff position.”
Prior to joining the Galaxy, Birchall had spent his entire club career in the England with the exception of a short loan stint in Scotland during the 2007/08 campaign. Born in Stafford , England , Birchall began his club career with Port Vale, playing nearly 80 league games. He made his debut for the club during the 2001/02 season and spent five seasons at Vale Park before being sold to Coventry City in August 2006.
Birchall went on to score twice in nearly 30 games during his time with Coventry City, while also enjoying loan spells with St. Mirren in Scotland and Carlisle United. In January 2009, Birchall signed a contact through the end of the season with Brighton & Hove Albion of England’s League One. He helped the club avoid relegation, playing in nine games in the midfield as Brighton finished three points clear of relegation to League Two.
An established international, Birchall has appeared 32 times for Trinidad and Tobago , scoring four times. Eligible to play for the country as his mother was born there, Birchall helped T&T reach the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the country’s first-ever appearance in the tournament. He scored in a 1-1 draw with Bahrain in the first leg of the two nation’s World Cup Qualifying playoff in November 2005. The Soca Warriors won the second leg 1-0 to book their spot at the World Cup.
Birchall played in all three of his country’s games at the tournament, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in each. This year, he has played in four of Trinidad & Tobago’s five CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, starting three of the matches.