Knighton is expected to serve as New England's starting goalkeeper, replacing Matt Reis, who retired from his long career today.
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited to be coming back to New England, where I began my career,” Knighton said. “I had three incredible years here and I couldn’t think of a better city, organization and team to return to. I can’t be happier this worked out.”
Vancouver declined Knighton’s 2014 contract option, making him available for the Re-Entry Process, but Knighton opted out of the Re-Entry Process to facilitate today’s trade.
Knighton, 28, re-joins the Revs after spending the last four seasons with Philadelphia, the Carolina Railhawks (NASL) and Vancouver. He began his MLS career in New England in 2007 and spent his first three seasons with the Revolution before Philadelphia selected him in the 2009 Expansion Draft.
Knighton came to the Revolution’s 2007 preseason camp as an undrafted free-agent, and earned a roster spot after a strong training camp. He served as the team’s third-string goalkeeper in 2007 and most of 2008, before he became Matt Reis’ back-up late in 2008 following an injury to Doug Warren. Knighton moved into the back-up goalkeeper role in 2009 – and made his MLS debut on March 28 in a 1-1 draw at New York – before going on to make six starts throughout the year. He went 1-2-3 on the year with a 2.33 goals against average.
After Philadelphia picked him up in the 2009 Expansion Draft, he made eight starts for the Union and went 3-3-1, posting two shutouts and a 1.10 goals against average. Philadelphia released him during preseason camp in 2011, and Knighton signed with his hometown Carolina Railhawks of the North American Soccer League, the U.S. second division. He earned NASL Best XI honors that season, making 28 appearances for the NASL regular-season champions.
In 2012, Carolina head coach Martin Rennie was hired as the Whitecaps’ head coach, and he brought Knighton with him to Vancouver. Knighton made 22 appearances – 19 starts – in the last two seasons in Vancouver, posting a combined 1.11 goals against average and five shutouts, while going 9-6-5 in two seasons. In 2013, he went 6-3-2 with a 1.36 GAA in 11 starts.