The Philadelphia Union, after weeks of speculation and reports in the Colombian and Uruguayan media about a deal, announced a loan of Valdes to Santa Fe. According to Major League Soccer and Union team policy, the terms of the loan, including any potential purchase option or agreed upon transfer fee, were not released.
Santa Fe will have Valdes on loan through the end of the Liga Postobon season, which extends from January to November. Reports had previously declared the loan to be a year long with a purchase option attached.
His stellar play in 2012 was rewarded with a spot on the league's All-Star team against Chelsea. Valdes went on to represent Colombia twice in 2012, after head coach Jose Pekerman selected him during a defensive crisis over injuries and suspensions.
The move broke a long standing unofficial mission operative by Colombian national team managers to ignore MLS players. However, Pekerman declared his interest in having Valdes move back to South America in order to see him play more often and to get him into the continent's famous Copa Libertadores tournament.
To make that happen, Pekerman reportedly recommended Valdes to Boca Juniors, while the Colombian also was given high marks by Paraguay's manager Gerardo Pelusso to Nacional (of Uruguay). Deportivo Cali snuck in late to try to capture Valdes' signature, but failed to entice Valdes and his family also rejected a move to Cali.
Valdes said on Colombian radio earlier this month that his contract with the Union extended through this season and the next, meaning that the Union control his rights through the 2014 World Cup. However, Santa Fe would likely have the ability to utilize their purchase option at any point during the loan at a pre-arranged fix price, meaning that whether or not Valdes makes it into the Colombian World Cup squad, his transfer fee will remain the same.
The 27-year-old played was captain of the Union for just under a full season, making him the third player in the franchise's history to be given the armband and leave the team within a year. Faryd Mondragon departed for childhood club Deportivo Cali a year after joining the Union and gaining the captain's armband from Danny Califf, who was traded barely three months into the 2012 MLS regular season following his second stint as captain (Valdes received it once Califf went to Chivas USA).
He scored three times, and also had an assist, in 65 appearances - all starts - for the Union.