Markus Halsti has spent seven years playing for Swedish side Malmo FF, where he even reached the UEFA Champions League with the reigning Allsvenskan champions. The Finnish midfielder has signed for a new club on a different continent, but he will still be playing the Champions League.
That's because the man with 20 caps for the Finland national team has joined DC United in Major League Soccer, who will be taking part in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2015.
United announced the acquisition of Halsti on Monday. Once visas, work permits and medical clearance are obtained, Halsti will join the MLS squad for the start of training camp in Florida this month. His first game will likely come against Alajuelense in the CCL Quarter Finals at the end of February.
“We are pleased to be adding a player with solid European playing experience at the Club, Champions League, and National Team levels,” D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper told reporters.
“Markus can play as both a central midfielder and central defender, and this was quite attractive to us. He is a tough competitor and another very good character piece for our club. We look forward to having him join our family.”
The versatile six footer, who turns 31 in March at the start of the season, has also previously played for GAIS in Sweden and HJK Helsinki in his native Finland.
Over the past four seasons, Halsti has made 26 appearances in European competition, scoring once. Over his career with HJK and Malmo, he’s played in 230 matches, scoring 10 times. Halsti can play in multiple positions and that must have been one of the attractions to DC United and head coach Ben Olsen who looks to boost his squad as they will be looking for a deep playoff push in 2015. Halsti can play anywhere across the back four as well as across the midfield.