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How playing in Scotland will affect Perry Kitchen's USMNT standing

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The former D.C. United man will reportedly sign a contract with Hearts, and allegedly turned down a sizable MLS offer to do so.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Kyle Beckerman not getting any younger, Michael Bradley destined to play more advanced roles, and Jermaine Jones doing whatever it is that he does in Colorado, the future of the U.S. defensive midfield is now for a few prospects. Danny Williams, playing the best soccer of his career in the Championship with Reading, is an intriguing option to many. Wil Trapp is preferred by many; his combination of positioning, passing accuracy, and youth held down the Columbus Crew midfield last season. And then there's Jurgen Klinsmann's favorite 92nd minute substitute, Perry Kitchen.

D.C. United let Kitchen's contract run out at the end of the 2015 MLS season after the two sides couldn't come to terms on a new agreement, and he's been unattached since. Reportedly searching for a chance in Europe, it appears Kitchen has found a home with The Jam Tarts (insert your own "Kitchen Makes the Tarts" joke here).

While there's still no official word from the club, Kitchen has apparently won himself a work permit to ply his trade in the UK via the "exceptional talent" clause (not having played enough games with the USMNT over the past two years to automatically qualify for the UK permit), and Hearts coach Robbie Neilson is commenting on the move, so it appears the transfer is as good as done.

There are a few interesting quotes from Neilson on the transfer, as it appears that Kitchen had a large offer that he turned down from MLS, and also had a move to Germany fall through before the closing of the German transfer window. With his options running short, Kitchen made the switch to Scotland.

Kitchen has appeared to be on the outer cusp of the national team set-up, earning calls during primarily MLS camps, but not securing any meaningful playing time under Klinsmann. The Scottish Premier League isn't some massive step up from MLS (in fact, the bottom half of the league is probably a step down in quality), but Hearts currently sit in third place, which would qualify them for the preliminary stages of the Europa League, and the work permit and proximity to the England will ultimately be good for Kitchen if he can make an impression. Klinsmann constantly preaches for players to step out of their comfort zone. Perry Kitchen just did.