Josh Wolff wanted to test his abilities in Europe while he was still young and 1860 Munich gave him the chance.
The 29-year-old Parkview grad signed a contract with the German Second Division club on Wednesday and officially ended his ties to Major League Soccer for the moment. Wolff had played for MLS since 1998, first with the Chicago Fire (1998-2002) and most recently with the Kansas City Wizards (2003-06). He could still return to MLS in the future after giving European soccer a try.
He and his agent, aware that his MLS contract was near expiration, looked into possible options with European clubs since that was Wolff's desire. They worked out a deal with England's Derby County in August, but British immigration officials turned down the club's request for a work permit.
Unable to play in London, Wolff looked at Germany and signed with 1860 Munich this week. He worked out recently with the club and waited while the contract details were ironed out.
Fellow U.S. player Gregg Berhalter also plays for the Munich team.
"Obviously we've been checking out 1860 for awhile now, my agent and myself, and once I started training here, I started following (the team's) results," Wolff said. "I got to know the guys and see the facilities here. It was a good experience. That was one real proving point to work out a deal."
The forward is expected to begin his career with 1860 Munich on Jan. 3. The club is sixth in the Second Division, but is only four points out of reaching the top four spots and earning promotion to the Bundesliga, Germany's top division.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity," said Wolff, who has two young sons with his wife, Angela. "It's a great club with a lot of tradition and history. I expect great things while I'm here."
Wolff played in 164 career matches as an MLS player, tallying 59 goals and 35 assists. He was one of the league's best-paid players with a salary of $420,357.
He also has played 45 matches with the U.S. National Team that took him away from MLS play at times. He was on the American roster for both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and also was a key member of the 2000 Olympic team.