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Ex-Arsenal man who made debut on historic Fabregas moment on verge of deal in US

Arsenal fans may recall Frank Simek, who is about to embark on a new footballing adventure.

Many Arsenal players have come and gone through the Gunners academy without so much as playing for the first team, so those who do - even if they do not carve out a lasting career at the club can at least cherish the memories.

Frank Simek is one such player, who has a claim to fame - for while he made just one single first team appearance, it was a memorable one.

Back in 2003 Simek started in the League Cup fixture at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, a match the Gunners won 5-1, and it was notable for it featured the first ever Arsenal goal scored by a teenage Cesc Fabregas.

Also included in the side - in the year of the Invincibles - were Nwankwo Kanu, Sylvain Wiltord, and Patrick Vieira, quite a cast to be lining up alongside.

Fast forward to the present day, and Simek is finally leaving English football behind him after a successful decade in the lower leagues, and at 28-years-old is heading back to his homeland, the USA.

Simek is an former Arsenal reserve team captain and plays at right-back, and importantly he is currently a free agent after being released by Carlisle United.

He is already embarking on the next step of his career, for it was confirmed this week that he is on trial with MLS side DC United, based in the capital of Washington.

Simek is no unknown in his homeland either, for he has been capped by the US on five occasions, most recently in 2010.

If DC United are indeed looking for a consistent player with plenty to offer then Simek could be just that man, for he has forged a solid career for himself in lower league football in England, but now clearly is after a new challenge.

While at Arsenal he had brief spells with QPR and Bournemouth on loan, before leaving in 2005 to sign for Sheffield Wednesday. He spent five seasons at the Owls becoming a real fans favourite, battling back from a serious ankle injury suffered at the club.

The last three seasons he has spent with Carlisle United, and even had a chance to humilate former club Arsenal's rivals Spurs in the League Cup earlier this year, although the League One side were in the end defeated 3-0.

He is certainly over his injury problems making 42 appearances for the club this season prior to his contract expiring, and whether he is able to quickly adapt to the MLS will be a test for him, and the level of competition, how it matches up to League One.

There is one particularly intriguing task awaiting Simek, for DC United play in the MLS Eastern Conference along with New York Red Bulls, where Arsenal legend Thierry Henry remains.

Given the Frenchman's liking to drift onto the left side of attack, he is likely to come directly up against Simek. We're sure Henry won't forget the old face, but in case he did, expect Simek to remind his old clubmate with a crunching tackle or two.

image: © wjarrettc

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