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  • Casey scores key goal that keeps Karlsruhe in 2Bundesliga.

    Americans Abroad

    Casey signs to play for Mainz in 1Bundesliga.

    Conor Casey
    Conor Casey was said to be sought by 10 clubs in the 1Bundesliga.
    By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
    SoccerTimes

    (Monday, May 31, 2004) -- United States striker Conor Casey will play next season in the 1Bundesliga for FSV Mainz 05.

    Casey was the leading scorer with 14 goals last season for Karlsruher SC which narrowly escaped relegation from the 2Bundesliga. Casey recorded the only tally in Karlsruhe's season-ending 1-0 home victory over Alemannia Aachen that allowed Karslruhe to avoid the indignity of spending next season in the third, or even possibly fourth division.

    Casey, 22, was with Karlsruhe on loan from the 1Bundesliga's Borussia Dortmund which decided it was already deep in forwards and decided to cash in on its hot property by selling him to Mainz. Mainz was promoted to the 1Bundesliga after finishing third in the second division.

    Mainz (13-6-15, 54 points) was actually tied with FC Energie Cottbus (15-10-9) for the third and final promotion spot, but Mainz was seven better in goal differential and the late slump of U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter's club proved disastrous.

    Casey reportedly signed a three-year contract. "It was very hard to get him," Mainz managing partner Christian Heidel told Kicker magazine. "Conor could have signed with at least 10 clubs in the (1Bundesliga). The joy of accomplishing this coup, for me, is extremely large."

    Heidel said Mainz coach Jürgen Klopp had made obtaining Casey a top priority and the club had negotiated for several days to acquire him. The transfer fee was reported to be around $366,000. The terms of Casey's contract were not announced.

    Casey is currently with the U.S. men, preparing for Wednesday's friendly against Honduras at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the Boston suburb. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound attacker had no comment, but confirmed the signing.

    Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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