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CHIVAS USA: French, Brazilian signings?

8/5/2011

French winger Laurent Courtois officially has joined Chivas USA. Brazilian defender David Junior Lopes' acquisition should be official, too, very soon.

A club official confirmed Thursday night that the Goats have signed both players, and the announcement that Courtois has joined the team is on the club's website, although an emailed news release sent Thursday morning was recalled about 20 minutes later -- for reasons that had nothing to do with the deal.

Courtois, 32, is in Massachusetts for Chivas' game Saturday against the New England Revolution. Lopes, 29, who can play anywhere along the backline or as a defensive midfielder, is awaiting arrival of his International Transfer Certificate before he'll be eligible to play, and an announcement won't be made until paperwork is complete.

Chivas promised signings during the summer transfer window, which opened July 15 and runs for another week and a half, and was expected to address its greatest area of need, at forward. The signings add significant depth -- and two expected starters -- while leaving the striking corps intact.

Courtois' connection to the Goats was through a mutual friend of Greg Vanney's. Head coach Robin Fraser's top assistant played from 2002 through 2005 for Bastia in the France's top league.

“We’re looking for the best soccer players we can find, and we’ve found this guy who we think is going to enhance our team,” Fraser said in the release. “He´s very comfortable on the ball, been in a number of situations in big games in Europe When you look at our group, one of the things we want to add is experience and maturity. ... He has a very good first touch, is a good passer, and is a very intelligent and experienced soccer player whom we’re extremely excited to have.”

Courtois arrives from Grenoble, in France's second-tied Ligue 2, after stints with Ajaccio, Toulouse, West Ham United, Istres and Levante.

“In my head, I’m starting from zero, like I’ve never done anything,” Courtois told the club's website. “This is the better way to learn. I have to be accepted in this league and in this changing room. This is a total different football from what I’ve seen so far [in my career]. So it’s going to be a total new start for me, and I think have quality to try and do it, slowly.”

Lopes had been playing for Universitatea Craiova, one of Romania's most storied clubs, until it was kicked out of the Romanian league last month for economic reasons.

He previously had been with FC Porto, Paranaense and clubs in Spain's second division (Cordoba), Russia (Terek Grozny), Croatia (Osijek) and with another Parana-based team (Iraty).