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Former U.S. youth defender Shane O'Neill joins Dutch club Excelsior

Shane O'Neill has been capped 21 times at youth level.
Shane O'Neill is set to move to Netherlands permanently after spending time there on loan.

Former U.S. youth international defender Shane O'Neill has secured a transfer to Dutch Eredivisie side Excelsior from Cypriot club Apollon Limossol.

O'Neill, a dual national who also holds an Irish passport, arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday. He signed a one-year contract with the option for a second on Monday.

O'Neill, 23, spent last season on loan to another Dutch side, NAC Breda, helping them reach promotion to the top flight. But Breda were unable to acquire O'Neill on a permanent basis, thus allowing him to move to Excelsior, who finished 12th in the Eredivisie last season.

A source told ESPN FC there was also interest from clubs in France, Portugal and Denmark.

A native of Midleton, Ireland, O'Neill moved to the U.S. when he was a year old and eventually rose up the youth ranks of the Colorado Rapids, signing as a Homegrown Player when he was 18. He went on to make 58 league and cup appearances for Colorado, scoring one goal.

Midway through the 2015 season, O'Neill moved to Apollon, but he spent almost the entirety of his time with the club on loan. He was with the Belgian club now known as Royal Excel Mouscron late in 2015, only to have that loan cancelled, at which point he was loaned to English fourth-tier side Cambridge United.

His stint with Breda was by far the most successful of his loan spells, as he made 29 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal.

O'Neill has played for the U.S. under-20 and under-23 sides. He was in the U.S. senior team for a friendly in 2015 but did not appear in the game.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.


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