Soccer

Republic FC signs veteran midfielder Adam Moffat

Tower Bridge Battalion members cheer for the Republic FC during an exhibition match against the New York Cosmos. Hoping to give the Battalion even more to cheer about this upcoming season, the Republic FC signed veteran midfielder Adam Moffat to their roster on Monday, January 2, 2017. Coach Paul Buckle expects Moffat to bring leadership and goal scoring to the team, and hopefully avoid being ousted in the opening round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Tower Bridge Battalion members cheer for the Republic FC during an exhibition match against the New York Cosmos. Hoping to give the Battalion even more to cheer about this upcoming season, the Republic FC signed veteran midfielder Adam Moffat to their roster on Monday, January 2, 2017. Coach Paul Buckle expects Moffat to bring leadership and goal scoring to the team, and hopefully avoid being ousted in the opening round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. rbenton@sacbee.com

For someone going nowhere as a young professional in Scotland, new Republic FC midfielder Adam Moffat has done quite well for himself in America.

The Glasgow native has carved out a 10-year career, appearing in 178 matches with five Major League Soccer teams and the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.

He was a member of the 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew and was a key player in leading the Houston Dynamo to the MLS Cup finals in 2011 and 2012. He helped the Cosmos win back-to-back NASL championships the past two years.

Now Moffat hopes to have the same success with the Republic FC, which will announce his signing this morning.

“I’ve been fortunate in my career,” Moffat said by phone Monday from New York. “I’ve gotten to play in a lot of meaningful games the last 10 years and, hopefully, that continues this year.”

Republic FC coach Paul Buckle expects Moffat to provide leadership and goal scoring to a team that finished atop the USL Western Conference regular season standings but was ousted in the opening round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

“We’ve tried to bring in something different than what we have had in the past, and we’ve done that with Adam,” Buckle said. “He’s very good at set plays and a quality goal scorer at the edge of the box, something we need.”

Moffat, 30, was New York’s second-leading goal scorer last season with eight goals.

But with the NSAL and the Cosmos’ future up in the air because of financial struggles, Moffat said he wanted stability for his three young children while playing for a club with a huge upside that was willing to commit to him for more than just one year.

“Republic FC is a young organization, and what they’ve done in three years is incredible,” Moffat said. “I didn’t want to go somewhere for the sake of going somewhere (like MLS), especially now with kids. My oldest is just starting school. I just see it as a good place for my family.”

Moffat saw Sacramento’s potential when he played for the Cosmos in a friendly against Republic FC in front of a sold out crowd of more than 20,000 at Hughes Stadium in 2015.

His wife, Jennifer, is from California – she’s the sister of former San Jose Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart – and she still has family in Southern California.

While the chance to possibly return to MLS “would be great” should Sacramento land an expansion slot in the near future, Moffat said that wasn’t an important a factor in his decision to move across the country.

“Obviously that’s where (Republic FC) aspires to be, and it’s where they deserve to be,” Moffat said. “But my focus is strictly on the USL this coming year and helping us win the championship.”

Buckle plans to pair Moffat with defensive midfielder Jeremy Hall, another MLS veteran who played 12 USL games on loan with Republic FC last season from the Tampa Bay Rowdies, but will sign with Sacramento for the 2017 season.

Republic FC Director of Football Graham Smith also expects that Moffat will mesh well with captain and midfielder Danny Barrera, an all-USL first team selection last season.

“Adam and Jeremy are intelligent, mature players and you combine that with Danny’s skill, craftiness and guile, and our fans are going to be in for a treat,” Smith said.

Having played in Cleveland (a now-defunt USL team), Portland, Seattle and Dallas in addition to Columbus, Houston and New York, Moffat has seen a lot of America.

He admits it’s all amazing considering he almost gave up the sport as a young professional when he was mired in the lower divisions with Ross County and Elgin in Scotland. But he came to the United States on a lark at age 20 to play with the minor league Stars, then was seen by then-Columbus Crew coach Sigi Schmid, who signed him to his first MLS contract.

“I got a second chance, and it’s been a blessing to be able to play as long as I have,” Moffat said. “To see all these different places, meet different people, it’s been great. Now I’m excited to be coming to Sacramento to work with some of their young players and try to help the team continue its success.”

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

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