Once-capped USMNT midfielder Caleb Stanko has headed back to Europe after a three-year stint with FC Cincinnati, signing with Greek club PAS Giannina.

The Greek club, which is currently in fifth place in the Super League Greece, announced the signing of the Michigan-born player on their Twitter feed on Wednesday. Speaking to the press, the player praised his new team and the new challenge, while acknowledging their head coach Iraklis Metaxas, who was instrumental in making the move happen.

“I am very happy to play for PAS Giannina,” Stanko stated to Greek newspaper Epirotikos Agon. “I watched the team and the way it played, and I loved this new challenge.”

“In the past I had worked in Freiburg with our coach [Iraklis] Metaxas. I know the way he works and I thank him for the trust in me, as well as the president and the management of the team.”

No details were given about the length of his contact with the team.

The 28 year-old spent the previous three seasons at Cincinnati in MLS after playing for eight years in Europe within the SC Freiburg organization. He first joined their reserve squad in 2011, eventually making his debut with the first team in 2015.

While he never caught on for Freiburg, making only 11 first-team appearances, he had a largely successful loan spell at Swiss team FC Vaduz during the 2016-17 season, making 26 league appearances, most of them starts. His play earned Stanko his lone call-up to the USMNT in the September 2016 World Cup Qualifying window, where he played 17 minutes in a home win over Trinidad and Tobago.

His new team Giannina plays their next game on Friday against OF Iraklion.

Their German-born head coach Metaxas was Stanko’s coach in Freiburg’s second-team from 2014-15, and has had a number of stints as an assistant and second-team coach at various German clubs and the Greek National Team, before assuming his first head-coach role at Giannina before the current season.

By David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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