The NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks forward Matt Horth is making the jump to European soccer. The 6-foot-3 forward, who led the club in scoring from 2011-2012, has joined Icelandic side Leiknir Reykjavik.
Horth signed with the Silverbacks in January after spending a year away from the Silverbacks at New England Revolution of MLS. The move back to the Silverbacks appeared to have cleared the way for Horth to get more playing time and continue to develop his game in Atlanta, however, the club was not going to stop the Akron, Ohio native from fulfilling his dream to play in Europe.
“It’s never easy to lose a player of Matt’s quality, however, after evaluating everything, both parties decided it was in the best interest of his family and his career to pursue this opportunity,” said Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda. “Standing in the way of a player pursuing his dream to play in Europe is not our policy nor our model, so we’re excited that Matt has been granted this opportunity. He will always be a part of the Silverbacks family, and in the event that he would want to return to the NASL, he knows he has a home here in Atlanta.”
Although he is excited to start a new chapter abroad, Horth conceded that the decision was a very difficult one considering the Silverbacks organization signed him to his first professional contract back in 2011.
“I was truly looking forward to the 2014 NASL season as a member of my home club, the Silverbacks, and it’s with a bittersweet heart that I’m leaving so soon,” Horth said. “Eric Wynalda, Andy Smith, and the rest of the club have always stressed that they want to help me develop as a player and progress my career. It’s with their help that this opportunity in Europe came about, and when it presented itself, we all knew it wasn’t one that could be passed up. My return to Atlanta has only been delayed.”
The 24-year-old forward scored the Silverbacks’ first goal in the NASL era in 2011, and went on to lead the team in scoring in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He tallied a total of 18 goals in 49 league appearances for the Silverbacks, putting him second on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.
Horth, along with his wife, Jessica, now heads to Iceland for his first taste of European soccer. Based in Reykjavik, the country’s most populous city, Leiknir Reykjavík competes in the Icelandic First Division, 1. deild karla. The club recently won their first ever Reykjavik Cup title, beating top-tier side Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur (KR) in the final just under a year ago.