Sam Nicholson insists it was time for a fresh challenge in England after opting to join Bristol Rovers over a return to Hearts.
The winger signed a two-year deal with the League One side on Wednesday morning following three years plying his trade in the MLS with Minnesota and Colorado Rapids.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson had admitted his interest in bringing the playmaker back to Tynecastle after it was announced that Nicholson was returning to the UK for family reasons.
But the 25-year-old, who came through the youth system at Hearts before going on to make over 120 appearances for the club, admits he is keen to try and make a name for himself south of the border.
Nicholson said: “I came through the youth system at Hearts and supported them as a boy and it was good to get into the first team and play as many games as I did.
“I was lucky enough to get over 100 games and it’s something I was really proud of, but it’s time for a new challenge.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, even when I was younger I suppose the target was to try and get to England and do something there.
“I was 22 when I went over to America so I was relatively young but it was something I wanted to experience.
“I was surprised by the standard of football, i enjoyed it but I feel it’s time to be closer to home and closer to family.”
Nicholson, speaking to the official Bristol Rovers website, admits he was keen on joining Rovers from the minute he spoke to manager Ben Garner.
He added: “It’s something I have been looking forward to since arriving back in the UK, getting down to Bristol and being involved with the club so I’m looking onward to it.
“I had chats with the manager when I was in America and I know the direction the club is going.
“Once I heard that I made my mind up.”