The winter transfer window is more than a month from opening, but an American player has already secured a move abroad.
Belgian First Division A side KV Oostende announced the signing of fullback Kyle Duncan on a contract through June of 2025. He will join the club on December 1st, allowing for a whole month of training before a first potential appearance. The 24-year-old was most recently with the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer. Over the summer, Kristian Dyer reported that Montpellier, Metz, Reims, and Anderlecht were also interested.
Heb jij de link gelegd tussen onze hints?— KV Oostende (@kvoostende) November 25, 2021
Thanksgiving (VS) Dunken in Brooklyn Neefje van George Weah Red Bull (New York) Kyle (South Park) @kyleduncan_6 @GGanaye : Kyle koos voor ons ondanks zware concurrentie van andere Europese clubs."https://t.co/1wiaNYZvOq pic.twitter.com/Prp3l3UJVo
“Kyle is a player who has been on our radar for a long time,” Oostende executive Gauthier Ganaye told the club’s official website. “Because the season in the [United States] is now over and his contract has ended there, we can sign him for free, despite the tough competition from several European clubs. Because he grew up with Red Bull’s style of play, he fits perfectly into our system: he is a modern right back who combines speed with good crosses… Because the season in the [United States] has only just come to an end, he is physically very sharp and will be ready for use immediately.”
Oostende is currently at 13th place in the 18-team Belgian first division. The club is owned by “American-based investment fund” Pacific Media Group, which also holds stakes in Barnsley and FC Thun. The club primarily operates out of a 3-5-2 formation, which is a perfect fit for Duncan’s abilities as an attack-first fullback.
This is the 24-year-old’s second venture into Europe. Following a spell in the New York Red Bulls Academy, Duncan joined Valenciennes in Ligue 2. He struggled to break out of the reserves and returned to his former club in 2018, developing into one of most dynamic fullbacks in MLS over the past four seasons.
After making sporadic appearances at various youth levels, Duncan made his senior international debut in December of 2020. He played 16 minutes in the 6-0 victory over El Salvador. Gregg Berhalter named him to the USMNT preliminary roster for the 2021 Gold Cup, but the fullback was not selected for the final squad.
This appears to be a shrewd move for Duncan, a second attempt to play in Europe with more experience under his belt. Belgium has emerged as one of the world’s top leagues and talent markets, making this either a comfortable spot in a well-regarded first-division or a shrewd step up the ladder. While on the fringes of the national team picture, he is young enough to continue improving and could become an important piece during the current and future World Cup cycles.