Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Flops hurt U.S. export market
by Paul Kennedy, February 2nd, 2011 12:56AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  americans abroad, mls, my view, soccer business

MOST COMMENTED

[MY VIEW] Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu -- all considered the greatest American attackers of their generation -- found themselves on the move again at the end of the January transfer window, unable to crack the starting lineup in the case of Johnson and Altidore or even a spot on the bench in the case of Adu. This wasn't how it was supposed to be when they made much-publicized moves from MLS to Europe.

Johnson is still only 26, and Altidore and Adu are 21, but their European careers have been a bust. Johnson, a free agent at the end of the season, is on his third loan spell from Fulham -- to Preston North End, last in the English League Championship. The Cottagers paid a reported $5 million for Johnson in 2008 but he has played all of 19 EPL games in his four seasons in England.

Altidore, whose $10 million transfer fee is a record for an American sold by MLS, was also loaned out by Spanish club Villarreal for the third time when he joined Turkish club Bursaspor. Of the three Americans, Jozy is in the best position. Bursaspor, which brought him in on a private jet, is fighting for the league title and his contract is still owned by Villarreal, one of the best teams in La Liga.

As for Adu, he arrived in Europe to much fanfare when he signed with Benfica from Real Salt Lake, but he has jumped from club to club, finishing the season on the bench at Benfica in 2008 and Monaco in 2009. He played more late in the season at Aris last season, but the Greek club has wanted nothing to do with him this season, so he is on the move again, like Altidore to Turkey, but at a more obscure destination, second division club Caykur Rizespor, on the eastern Black Sea.

Other prominent Americans -- Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Oguchi Onyewu -- were also unsettled and moved on loan in January, but they all at least have staked out successful European careers.

For MLS, payoffs on the international transfer market won't come easy. Johnson, Altidore and Adu certainly haven't enhanced the reputation of American soccer in Europe as a producer of attacking talent.



0 comments
  1. Rene Guerra
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.
    Paul, You hit the nail on the the head. Out of all those six, just Onyewu is worthy as a footballer. He is too slow, though, and lacks technique; it is his corpulence what helps him a lot as a defender, making him barely passable. Adu had a future, but Richard Nowak destroyed him; who knows what ticked Nowak off to have given Freddy such a naughty treatment. Freddy needed to toughen up a couple of years more playing intensively in the MLS before moving anywhere abroad, particularly Europe. But Nowak cut him off. And all that ridicule Adu ado built up by the football-ignorant U.S. media and the unscrupulous MLS marketeers contributed greatly to inflate Freddy for Benfica to make them believe that they had signed the second Pele. Alas! Bradley started well in the MLS, but then he began that horrid habit of playing negative; any ball that would land on his feet, he would return back to whoever made him the pass or, worse, speedily carry the ball in the direction of his own team. In summary, we are not still up to the point of exporting players; our football is still too rudimentary. We need to bring more stylists from abroad, particularly from Argentina. Additionally, footballer nurseries --such as AYSO, K12-college, etc.-- must, somehow, have its coaches learn and then teach their kids the latest individual and team game techniques.

  1. Eric Shinn
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
    I simply could not disagree with Rene's comment above more. We aren't "at the level of exporting players"? Who is the leading scorer right now for Premiereship team Fullham (and 14th leading scorer in the league itself)? Who was just voted player of the month and onto the league 11 by the fans while playing for Bolton? Who delighted the fans at Everton during his brief loan there last year? Who plays goal for Everton, Aston Villa, and Wolves? Who is currently starring on perennial champions league participant Rangers? Saying that we don't have Yes, Altidore, Adu (both all of 21 years of age), and Johnson have struggled. But their best football is still ahead of them, at least in Altidore's case, and likely in Adu's as well. Are they ever going to be Lionel Messi? Of course not. But neither is anybody else out there right now. Lastly, Michael Bradley was moved because Gladbach was afraid they would lose him at the end of the season for free, not because he wasn't contributing to the Bundesliga team. I fully expect Bradley to become a fan favorite for the Villains. Is the US program where we'd all like it to be? Of course not. But making it out like we have no attacking talent in Europe (Bradley, Holden, and Edu) as the author does, or that we have nobody WORTHY of playing in Europe (as the previous commenter did) is just plaing WRONG. We aren't there yet...but we're moving in the right direction.

  1. Eric Shinn
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.
    I simply could not disagree with Rene's comment above more. We aren't "at the level of exporting players"? Who is the leading scorer right now for Premiereship team Fullham (and 14th leading scorer in the league itself)? Who was just voted player of the month and onto the league 11 by the fans while playing for Bolton? Who delighted the fans at Everton during his brief loan there last year? Who plays goal for Everton, Aston Villa, and Wolves? Who is currently starring on perennial champions league participant Rangers? Yes, Altidore, Adu (both all of 21 years of age), and Johnson have struggled. But their best football is still ahead of them, at least in Altidore's case, and likely in Adu's as well. Are they ever going to be Lionel Messi? Of course not. But neither is anybody else out there right now. Lastly, Michael Bradley was moved because Gladbach was afraid they would lose him at the end of the season for free, not because he wasn't contributing to the Bundesliga team. I fully expect Bradley to become a fan favorite for the Villains. Is the US program where we'd all like it to be? Of course not. But making it out like we have no attacking talent in Europe (Bradley, Holden, and Edu) as the author does, or that we have nobody WORTHY of playing in Europe (as the previous commenter did) is just plaing WRONG. We aren't there yet...but we're moving in the right direction.

  1. Joe Grady
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.
    You tell him Eric! Well said

  1. Rocco Russo
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
    Ditto on Joe and Eric. "...Altidore and Adu are 21, but their European careers have been a bust." Altidore's European career already a bust eh? At 21? This tired hyperbole is unbearable. Altidore has a lot more to accomplish but he has at least another 10 years of playing (knock on wood). He's started a few games and scored a few goals in two of Europe's top leagues, all before he was legally able to drink a beer stateside. Give the kid (that's right he's just a kid) a break.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.
    Rene you have very well pointed out that Adu was destroyed by a moron Nowak. You also hit the nail in the head mentioning Bradley's "negative plays/passes" in the National Team. Finally someone else sees exactly what I find negative with Bradley's play. He is basically not a bad player but not great mediocre at best. On occasions something clicks with him but more often are "back passes" nothing progressive. Onyewu sorry to say is done just like Eddie Johnson after recoup. On a footnote Charlie Davis is done also it is futile effort for DC.

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
    The US has never produced a great striker, and probably never will, but Altidore has been pretty successful for the national team and still has the potential to do the same at club level. But it's clear that Adu's problems are self-inflicted... no outside agent is responsible for the fact that despite his obvious skills, not even the most obscure second- and third-tier European sides want him in their lineups after they see him. At youth level, Adu and Messi were mentioned in the same sentence. Messi worked hard and dealt with the pressures, and Adu didn't. It's as simple as that. The comments on Bradley and Onyewu are ridiculous -- both have been tremendously successful second-tier club players (Bradley was dominant in Holland, Onyewu in Belgium), and neither is anywhere close to "done". As for Davies, sorry to say he was unproven to begin with, a third-tier European pro who has found his appropriate level in MLS, once he completes his recovery.

  1. Brian Something
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
    It's Freddy *A*du. The *E*du is Maurice, who's doing fairly well with Rangers in Glasgow.

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 11:13 a.m.
    It's amazing how almost all of the soccer commentators on ESPN, FSC, etc. over and over say that American players HAVE to go play in Europe to get better. Yah. So they can be loaned out to play in some second division club in 'East Ufucistan."

  1. Justin Dickinson
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
    Brian McBride is the most accomplished American striker. I can only imagine the conversation had he played at milan, manchester, barca etc, but since he played so many years in mls and at fulham, he is under appreciated. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOev7CzGu5k See for yourself how van basten our american striker legend...

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
    These are all very interesting comments. Forget about the past, Freddy Adu needs to revive his career in the MLS where he may get regular playing time. When I watch Eddie Johnson play, he still looks like the same hesitant player he was when he first went to overseas four years ago. To me, his body language says "I don't know if I belong here." I watched Altidore in a friendly against Columbia last fall. For me, he doesn't do enough of the small things like making good one-touch passes in the attack, defending, and being good in the air. This is what made Brian McBride such a special player.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
    The youth program did nothing to solidify the on the pitch nuances which help a player achieve the next level. MLS destroyed Adu for pushing too fast and too hard...I know of no pro in the world who started first team play before the age of 16 and had a stellar career. As for Johnson and Altidore, their individual talents were never given the right direction, i.e, Giuseppe Rossi

  1. Heather Scott-molleda
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
    How soon they forget! Rene/Antonio - Nowak had nothing to do with Adu's failure to develop. As Mike says his issues are self-inflicted. Nowak was protecting him, giving him limited playing time and putting him up top or out wide. But he and his posse decided that at 15 he was big enough and mature enough to play center mid and be a starter. It's sad to see what happened. I wish he had patience and better advice - he might have developed into a better player. While I agree there are flaws in the US youth system, hello? Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride, in the striker department, and I have faith Jozy will follow. Then there's Steve Cherundulo, Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, etc... We definitely produce quality product, but just not consistently yet. But then neither does England and they've been at it a lot longer.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
    H-S-M --- good level headed comment. Totally agree regarding Nowak. I remember the heat he took for not pushing Adu to the front, and for trying to bring him along slowly. Regarding your comparison to England not producing a quality product, I couldn't agree more--which brings me to one of my many hot-buttons (prejudices). The US coaching environment continues to be dominated by Brits and Brit philosophy. Could that be why neither of the "cousins" is developing good numbers of highly skilled players???

  1. Quan Bui
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
    James, you said it brother. Why can't we look at the Dutch youth system? Here is country of less than 20 million people, and they produced some of the best attacking players in the world: Cruijft, Van Basten, Bergkamp, Robben, Snyder, etc..... What have England done lately? The EPL is nothing more than a bunch of mecernaries sold to the highest bidder.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: February 2, 2011 at 6:05 p.m.
    I agree with James and Quan, a departure from Brit style of play is long overdue, however the MLS/SUM/USSF cartel that controls American soccer does not see it that way. having Klinsmann as USMNT coach would have been a good start in taking a new direction but we all know how that turn out when it was decided to keep the "Team Bradley" approach around for another long 4 years. I would prefer to see us incorporate Argentine, Brasilian and Spanish training and playing systems with maybe a dash of Dutch and UK football still thrown in. I would like to see us grow into our own identity, one that draws on the best of our Latin American neighbors as well as some finer points from Europe. the big question though is will the MLS/SUM/USSF Cartel ever allow it?

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: February 3, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
    Good comments, though H-S-M hasn't read her US Soccer history. Since the late 60's I've been hearing that in ten years we'll be competitive, and here we are, in the second decade of the 21st Century still bemoaning the facts and low expectation and experiences of our players. HOWEVER, I agree with David Huff that the US MUST get away from the Brit style of play, and that "the MLS/SUM/USSF cartel" has its collective heads in the sand. My only question is why can't we develop our own system as we have the players, now a solis second and third generation of players that have come up through the ranks? Why can't we or don't open up the doors to them? Is the "cartel" so frickin dominant it can't or won't seen the trees for the forest? Looks pretty much that way!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] No. 5 Notre Dame grabbed a lead and man advantage on Patrick Hodan's penalty ...
Howard gaffes cost Everton dearly at home    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Everton's defensive troubles in the English Premier League continued as it dropped a 3-2 ...
Toronto FC ends misery, extends Chivas USA's drought    
[MLS: Sunday] Chivas USA was just what Toronto FC needed to snap a six-game winless streak. ...
Banner year for MLS scoring    
[BY THE NUMBERS] MLS is enjoying its highest-scoring season since it began its expansion push a ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] Jessica Puchalski's goal in the 64th minute gave Rutgers (6-1-0) a 1-0 win over ...
FC Edmonton puts itself in playoff mix    
[NASL: Fall Week 11] FC Edmonton jumped four teams in the fall standings, moving into third ...
What They're Saying: Alessandro Florenzi    
"It's not every day that an 82-year-old gets to the stadium. ... This goal is for ...
Wright-Phillips closes in on scoring record    
[MLS: Saturday] New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips is within three goals of the MLS record for goals ...
Lopez hat trick completes story-book ending    
[USL PRO: Semifinals] Sacramento Republic FC's magical season continued as Rodrigo Lopez scored a hat trick ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Saturday] No. 10 North Carolina came back from two goals down to stun No. 12 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives