It's different in Europe: soccer players are usually consulted about potential transfers or loans. But here in the United States it's called a trade. Sometimes it can be a path to a brand new direction, sometimes it can be heartbreaking; very often, it is a surprise, even to the player being traded. Lloyd Sam's has been in MLS for a while, he's surely aware of the way things get done, he quite probably heard the story that his name was being whispered by the New York Red Bulls to potential trade partners - but the fact of his move to D.C. United for general allocation money seemed to shock him as much as it did many fans.
I'm in tears right now— Lloyd sam (@MrLloydSam) July 7, 2016
"Lloyd has been a key member of our family and we thank him for all of his contributions to our club, both on and off the field," said Red Bulls Sporting Director Ali Curtis. "The quality of Lloyd's character and the talent that he possesses made the decision to trade Lloyd extremely difficult. With that said, this move allows us flexibility if we want to add another piece to our team moving forward."
Lloyd Sam came over from England back in 2012 on the advice of former Red Bulls Striker Luke Rodgers. He was shipped in by former Sporting Director Erik Soler and former manager Hans Backe. The Vikings never saw the best of him, though: Sam had injury issues in 2012. In 2013, under a new manager who was initially reluctant to let him start - Mike Petke - the Englishman broke out, scoring five league goals in under 900 minutes of playing time in MLS.
He was playing alongside Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill but when Bradley Wright-Phillips was brought over in 2013, a real connection started to form. While Henry's play-making was a part of BWP's historic 27-goal season in 2014, Sam also had a hand in some of those tallies as well, contributing nine assists in MLS that season.
But let's also not forget the goals he scored. In 2015, playing for his third coach at RBNY - Jesse Marsch - Sam adjusted his focus. No longer the pure wide-man of 2014, he started to look to find himself more often, and bagged personal best 10 league goals for the season. Overall for RBNY, he has scored twenty times in League play, tallied three US Open Cup goals and one against Club Deportivo FAS in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League in group stage play.
Every time Sam was on the pitch he put a out a professional performance for the faithful - home or away. Off the pitch, he is an easygoing guy and a funny one; he has a memorable smile and always seems willing to engage in conversation.
Of course coming over from England he became a fan of the National Football League. His favorite team is the New York Jets, which made this long-time Jets fan very happy.
It will be a strange feeling to see Sam in D.C. United's colors.
This man tore up DCU and scored many goals with his favorite move: "The Lloyd Sam Chop." Maybe DC is relieved to have got the man who so often brought misery to the Black and Red - he can't hurt them if he's on their team.
Sadly, the game of soccer is also a business, and even favorites must sometimes be moved on to meet the needs of that business. Right now, RBNY's business needs are more goals and more wins. Whatever is planned, clearly Sam needed to be sacrificed to achieve it. But the club's current urgent need for fresh ideas up top can't take away the memories of a great player who gave us some of his best work. When DC United next comes up, expect the South Ward to give their former man a proper ovation.