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Perry Kitchen officially signs with Heart of Midlothian

Former D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen has signed with Heart of Midlothian, the Scottish Premiership club announced Wednesday.

The 24-year-old American had been out of contract since his deal with D.C. United expired at the end of the 2015 season. His new contract with Hearts, pending international clearance, will run through the 2017-18 season.

The former University of Akron midfielder played at D.C. United from 2011-15, amassing 167 league appearances and scoring 10 goals. Kitchen also has notched three caps for the United States national team – his most recent a brief cameo at the end of the U.S.’s previous friendly against Canada in January.

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“Everyone’s worked really hard to get this deal over the line, so I’m pleased that he’s now officially a Hearts player,” Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson told the club’s website. “Perry’s a great talent and one I’m looking forward to working with. He’s got a wealth of experience over in the MLS but he wants to test himself in Europe, and I’m delighted that he’s chosen Hearts as the place to further develop himself.”

Neilson also expects Kitchen to be a leader, adding: “He’s a winner and will show real drive and determination in the middle of the park. We want to provide a platform for him to perform, and I know he will also help our younger players to progress as well.”

After returning to the Scottish Premiership this season, Hearts sit third with 53 points, 10 points off leader Celtic and 14 points ahead of Ross County in fourth. A third-place finish would put the Edinbrugh-based side in position for a Europa League spot.