Q&A with the SA Editors: Sept. 30, 1999
College Park, Md.
Who do you think will be the next group of American players in MLS to try their luck with a European club at the end of the season? I see Eddie Lewis (San Jose Clash) leading the pack and I sort of have a feeling that C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire) may get an offer or two.
Also, do you think Christoph Daum, the coach of Bayer Leverkusen, is a huge admirer of the American soccer player? Frankie Hejduk, Landon Donovan and John Thorrington are proof that he must see something special in this country.
Ridge Mahoney: Kenya, Eddie Lewis has already hooked up with an English agent, Paul Stretford, who brokered Claudio Reyna's move to Rangers, so he's a good bet to go abroad.
If MLS does not make a big offer to keeper Kevin Hartman, he could go to Mexico. Matt Jordan, another keeper, has trained in Germany, and might welcome an opportunity overseas.
The most enticing group could be the U.S. U-17 national team, as foreign clubs prefer to get players in that age group and give them two or three years of seasoning in the reserves while adjusting to climatic and cultural conditions as well as learning about the club.
Jordan Cila trained with Hamburg over the summer and the club would like to bring him back.
Many of the U.S. under-20 players will make their pro decisions in November and December. MLS will have to extend some rather large offers to compete with foreign teams.
The Leverkusen connection is due mostly to team manager Rainer Calmund, who supposedly first spotted Frankie in 1996 and regarded him as a possible acquisition both for marketing and playing purposes.
Daum likes players with great athletic ability, and also appreciates the Americans' determination. He has very clear ideas of which roles players should play, and can fit players into his tactics cleverly.
(If you have a question for a Soccer America Magazine editor, click "Q&A with SA Editors" in the left column of the home page under "Interactive.")
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