After months of speculation it's finally official. Marco Pappa has signed a pre-contract with SC Heerenveen and will join the Dutch club when his MLS contract expires at the end of the year. Pappa, who is currently third among all-time leading Fire goal scorers is one of the more talented wide players in MLS and will now get an opportunity to play for a club participating in the Europa League. SC Heerenveen has earned a third round qualifying spot in the 2012/13 tournament.
Pappa's contract is for 3.5 years and the Fire have retained his MLS rights should he return stateside. This is a case where both the club and the player handled the transaction and discussion with class and respect. The Fire attempted to extend his contract beyond this season but Pappa made it clear that he wanted to try a Euro move while he had the opportunity. The move is a good one for Pappa, whose style of play should fit well in Holland but from the organization's standpoint it's always difficult to lose important players. The club did extremely well to land Alvaro Fernandez as a potential replacement for Pappa's production thereby making the loss a bit easier to accept.
Pappa has had some ups and downs during his stay in Chicago, as most young players do but there's no denying his quality when he's playing well, which has been the case for most of this season. It's a good sign for the Fire and MLS that successful European clubs continue to show interest in quality players like Marco Pappa.