The news I've been reporting the last couple days is finally official, the Houston Dynamo have announced the signings of Spanish forward Sergio Contreras Pardo, aka Koke, and Jamaican midfielder JeVaughn Watson. Both players have agreed to financial terms and are awaiting their international transfer certificates.
Once all the paper work clears, the two players will be eligible to train and compete with the team. Watson is already in Houston, having been on trial with the club for the last week. Koke is expected to arrive mid to late next week.
Make no mistake, this is a big day for the Dynamo organization. Koke may not bring the name recognition the likes of David Beckham or Thierry Henry, but he does bring a proven ability to score and to be an effective attacking player. His speed, ball control and experience could be a huge spark for the Dynamo attack once he settles with the club and get used to the style of play in MLS.
Watson is another solid offensive minded player that will provide depth and coverage in the central midfield, a spot they until today's signing was easily the Dynamo's weakest point on the depth chart.
UPDATE: Koke is NOT a designated player signing.
Here is the team's official press release:
HOUSTON, TX (Friday, April 15, 2011) -- The Houston Dynamo have signed Spanish forward Sergio Koke and Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, it was announced today, the last day until July for players to transfer into Major League Soccer from foreign leagues. Per team and league policy, terms of the transactions were not disclosed. Watson will join the Dynamo roster pending approval of his P-1 visa. Koke will join the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.
Born Sergio Contreras, Koke comes to the Dynamo after almost five years with Greek club Aris, including the last two years as team captain. A native of Málaga, Spain, Koke has played for Málaga, Marseille in France, and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal throughout his career. The 27-year-old scored 30 league goals over his five seasons in Greece and led Aris to the Greek Cup final in 2009-10 and the knockout round of the UEFA Europa League this year. He is expected to join the club early to mid next week.
"I think it's good that we've added depth to positions of need," Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "Sergio has a good track record. We did our due diligence looking at the way he plays, and by all accounts and based on what he did to make himself free, he shows an eagerness that's not seen too often, so he comes in with a great attitude so far."
Watson has been training with the Dynamo all week on an extended trial after first playing with Houston during the preseason. Also 27 years old, Watson has spent his entire club career in his native Jamaica, most recently serving as team captain for Sporting Central. The midfielder has appeared eight times for Jamaica.
"Je-Vaughn played central midfield for us in preseason and impressed at two positions, holding midfielder and attacking midfielder," Kinnear said. "He's shown eagerness to get forward and eagerness to defend, so I think it's an area we needed some depth."