The former U-17 defender tells Goal.com he has reached an agreement to play in the North American league as he looks to return to the youth national team scene.
“I just signed a couple minutes ago,” Fehr told Goal.com on Tuesday. “I think that MLS is a good starting point for me. From MLS I’m trying to break through to Europe in a couple of years.”
The smooth-passing Fehr, who was born in New York but also has Japanese and Swiss citizenship, was a fixture for Wilmer Cabrera’s American side at the 2011 U-17 World Cup in Mexico. He suited up as a central defender and won plaudits for his calmness on the ball and distribution. Fehr says that of late he’s been playing a deep-lying central midfield role, which he feels is well suited to his game.
“I’m playing deep as a defensive midfielder right now,” he said. “I grew up in a Japanese soccer style which is always passing the ball, and to remain calm on the ball. So I’d like to be just that, the main guy on the ball to keep possession.”
Fehr says he decided to sign with MLS after being impressed by the league’s strides on the world stage in recent years.
“I’ve been watching the league and it’s progressed a lot since a couple of years ago,” the defender said. “The solidarity of MLS is good for young players, and there’s a lot of scouting going on in MLS. More and more players from MLS are going over to Europe.”
Fehr will go into a lottery to determine which team has the right to sign him, according to his agent, Eddie Rock. League rules stipulate that for a player to go through a lottery, he either must have signed a Generation adidas deal after the MLS SuperDraft or been offered a contract by MLS but did not sign prior to the draft.
The Japanese-Swiss-American said he’d be happy with any MLS side, though he does have a preference for a particular coast.
“Any team that picks me up I’d be happy with that, but somewhere on the West Coast would be nice,” Fehr said. “I probably would have my goal at first to make the 18 and game day roster, and get as much playing times as possible.”
The soon-to-be 18-year-old also hopes that his signing with MLS will boost his chances of getting back into the American national team picture with Tab Ramos’ U-20 squad.
“I heard I’m still in the pool,” he said, “So hopefully once this move goes through I can get another call-up.”
Fehr was one of the younger players on U-17 roster last year, and he will be 18 in December. But being born in 1994 makes this cycle his last of U-20 eligibility. Fehr appeared in all four matches of last year’s U-17 World Cup for the U.S. team that bowed out in the Round of 16.