by Dawes Dunham
Major League Soccer. Something about the name just didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it was its close proximity to the name of my most worshipped sport, Major League Baseball. Perhaps it was the garish jerseys and worse team nicknames; Wizards, Galaxy, Burn, Mutiny, and Fusion were hardly enthralling names. They felt cooked up in a lab somewhere, even given my immature pre-teen sensibilities. This was my country, my league, and – at 12 years old, recently coming off the recent high of seeing the World Cup in my own backyard (America) – I felt no attachment to this fledgling enterprise. Read the rest of this entry »
Humans naturally grasp for simplicity and certainty. In the case of soccer in the United States, for the last decade, fans have held their breath, waiting for a watershed moment to shout exuberantly “Soccer has arrived!” Yet nobody feels tectonic plates shift. You just wake up one day and you live in South America, not Africa. The 1994 World Cup was wholly unremarkable in the sporting sense, yet indelibly left a footprint stateside. And that footprint led to a trail far removed from the “pick off-American football-fans” of the collapsed NASL. Read the rest of this entry »
In Soccer in a Football World, David Wangerin expertly detailed the 1980’s era collapse of the North American Soccer League. In contemporary debates about Major League Soccer, the current professional league, the NASL is the trump card for cautionary acolytes – attempts to introduce designated players, increase the salary cap, and expand receive biblical finger-wagging & stern looks from chicken littles. Yet a look at another bubble-rebirth industry, silicon valley, illuminates why, currently, irrational pessimism may impede progress. Read the rest of this entry »
Alejandro Bedoya, the American midfielder of Colombian origin, has come from nowhere in recent months to stake a serious claim to be included in Bob Bradley’s World Cup squad. A graceful attacking midfield player who has proved himself capable of playing on both flanks, Bedoya has impressed since joining Swedish Allsvenskan side Orebro in 2009.
Different from the majority of players who graduate from the American college system, Bedoya turned his back on the traditional route to a professional career, shunning the annual MLS draft to explore avenues of opportunity abroad. Having impressed during his time at Boston College, Bedoya was snapped up by Orebro, a Scandinavian club with lofty ambitions and realistic hopes of a top four finish and Europa League qualification in the seasons to come, where he has made an outstanding start to his fledgling career.
Since joining the club just over a year ago, Bedoya has made 26 appearances for Orebro (the majority on the left side of midfield) and has quickly become an integral part of Finnish manager Sixten Bostrom’s side. The American’s performances did not go unnoticed and, in January, the Miami-born player was called up to the USA national team’s winter training camp in California, making his international debut at the end of the month against Honduras.
Despite an inexperienced USA side shorn of its star players going down 1-3 to the Central Americans, Bedoya was rated as the second best American on the pitch by the New York Times who described his performance as “threatening” but cast doubt over his chances of a place in this summer’s World Cup squad. However, an impressive display coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to Holland saw the player’s stock rise yet further and, with USA regular Stuart Holden having broken his leg against the Dutch, Bedoya’s dreams of completing a fairytale rise out of obscurity by being selected to travel to South Africa might just have become a little more likely. Watch this space.