Koke trades Aris for Houston

By George Georgakopoulos

Aris captain Sergio Koke bid farewell to the Thessaloniki club on April 13 after almost five years of service, to join MLS side the Houston Dynamo.

The Spanish forward is departing immediately to the US, as the MLS season is already under way, but made a tearful promise that one day he would return to Aris.

"I thought of my family first. I have been here for five years and I wanted a new experience, although I know I will not receive as much affection from the fans as I have here at Aris,» Koke told a press conference.

"This club helped me develop as a man and then as a player. Aris is a club that makes you feel deep sentiments, but unfortunately such is life in professional soccer. This proposal came from abroad and it is going to help my family considerably,» he added.

Aris stands to receive about 850,000 euros from the transfer, while saving another 270,000 from the remainder of the player's contract.

The club issued a statement thanking Koke for his contribution to its progress and wishing him luck in the MLS and the rest of his career.

Koke?s departure, after Javito?s transfer and coach Hector Raul Cuper?s resignation, effectively puts an end to the Latin era at Aris.

With Greek coach Sakis Tsiolis at the helm, Aris has recently returned to its winning ways and the stated intention of the club is to try to make its roster more Greek than in the past five years.