LONDON -- Sun and sand in Tahiti or the gray skies of northwest England? For Tim Ream, there was only one choice.
Contacted by English Premier League club Bolton the day after his wedding, the 24-year-old American defender canceled his honeymoon on the Pacific island and headed east instead.
Ream convinced Bolton manager Owen Coyle of his worth while training in December with Bolton’s squad and completed a transfer from Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls on Thursday.
“I was married for all of 24 hours when I got the phone call,” Ream said. “The manager asked if I’d be willing to cancel the honeymoon and come to Bolton and honeymoon here. As much as we were disappointed that we had to pass up the trip, I think we both knew it was in our best interests. Hopefully, it shows my commitment to being here and doing well here.”
Ream’s wife took a little more convincing.
“I can’t really repeat what she said,” Ream said. “But her and I have talked, and as long as we’re together in whatever we do I think both of us will be happy. She wants the best for me, and I just want her to be happy.
“If she says tomorrow that she wants something, then I guess I’ll have to give it to her.”
Ream fills the gap in Bolton’s roster created by the sale of Gary Cahill to Chelsea earlier in Europe’s January transfer window.
Ream joins fellow American Stuart Holden, who signed with Bolton in January 2010. The midfielder, a member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup team, has been limited to one appearance since March because of a knee injury.
The transfer fee of about $2.75 million is the highest for an MLS defender and sixth overall, trailing only those for Maurice Edu, Jozy Altidore, Stern John, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.
Ream signed a 3 ½-year contract. Coyle said Arsenal wanted to sign Ream before the current English season.
“I knew there was interest in me when I came over last year and trained for a couple of weeks, and then after Christmas time things really did start to ramp up,” Ream said. “Negotiations started, and that’s when I knew things were getting serious. Even before that week I aimed to challenge myself in England and, if an opportunity arose, I wanted to come over and try to make it here.”
Coyle is sure Ream has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.
“He is a U.S. international—a player that year-on-year has progressed and got better, and he will continue to do that,” Coyle said. “Tim is everything that we want in the players we are bringing to the club when we spend in the transfer market. He is young, has a tremendous attitude and a winning mentality.”
A finalist for the MLS Rookie of the Year award in 2010, Ream was selected to the MLS All-Star team last year and has played seven times for the U.S. national team.
“This was a hard decision for me considering the fact that I enjoyed playing for the Red Bulls and was looking forward to the upcoming MLS season,” Ream said. “However, after consulting with those closest to me, I decided that this was a once in a lifetime chance that I could not pass up.”
Bolton is 17th in the 20-team Premier League, just a point above the relegation zone after 22 of 38 matches.