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Charlie Horton leaves Leeds United to join MLS

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Charlie Horton's time at Leeds United is over. The United States U-23 goalkeeper has left the English club because of a private family matter and will join MLS.

"I’ve had to leave because of a private family matter back home. For me there is only one thing which comes before this football club – my family," Horton said in a statement. "That is the sole reason I’m going home. I ask people to respect my privacy while I handle it, as it is not a short-term matter. I’m extremely grateful for the compassion and understanding I have received from [Leeds owner] Massimo Cellino and [manager] Steve Evans. They have been absolutely top drawer about it.

"I’m very grateful that they understood and I wish them nothing but the very best going forward."I would like to thank all the fans for the amazing support and welcome they have shown me here. I’m disappointed that it’s over so soon, but Leeds will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ll always follow each game from across the pond. I wish them all the best."

Horton signed for Leeds in the summer on a two-year deal. The 21-year-old played for the club's youth team a couple times to stay sharp, but primarily served as the team's backup. He was on the bench for Leeds' last seven Championship matches.

Horton was the United States U-23's backup goalkeeper during Olympic qualifying and played 45 minutes in a friendly against Brazil earlier this month.

While the statement from Leeds made no mention of MLS, Horton tweeted that he will be signing with the league. It remains unclear which MLS club Horton will join or how the league will go about determining where he will play. He is from Cleveland, Ohio so the Columbus Crew would seem a natural fit, especially considering the personal family matter that required he leave Leeds, but that is simply speculation.