U.S. players head overseas to ply their trade.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, August 3, 2011) -- Most of the primary European leagues will begin their 2011-2012 seasons in the next two weeks and, in fact, some have already played their first matches. Many Americans will remain with their clubs from last season, but several have made moves to new teams. A few remain in limbo with their eventual destinations still up in the air.
Here is rundown of the United States men's pool players and other key Americans overseas:
Freddy Adu, midfielder; Benfica, Portugal
Adu is a player whose status and future are unclear. In his fourth loan away from Benfica, which bought him from Major League Soccer in 2007, he wisely set aside his ego in February to ensure he'd finally get some playing time and joined Rizespor, a club in Turkey's second division. He found playing time and some success. Now, after a good Gold Cup for the United States men, he is back at Benfica, but likely will be loaned out once again.
Jozy Altidore, forward; AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands
It looks like American forward Jozy Altidore is on the verge of heading to AZ Alkmaar of the Dutch Eredivisie, his fifth team in Europe since leaving MLS in 2008 to sign with Villarreal of Spain. Alkmaar says it has offered Altidore a permanent contract and that all that remains are the formalities.
While under contract with Villareal, Altidore was loaned out to Xerez of the Spanish second division, England's Hull City, and last season with Bursaspor of Turkey, where he played in 12 games and scored one goal.
DaMarcus Beasley, midfielder; Puebla, Mexico
Beasley's move from Glasgow Rangers of Scotland to Hannover 96 in Germany last season was a disaster. He only made four poor substitute appearances, so he was released at season's end.
Now Beasley has joined Puebla, a Mexican club.
Alejandro Bedoya, midfielder; Örebro, Sweden
It looked like Bedoya was on his way from Sweden to Scotland but, in recent days, it was reported that Scottish Premier League champions Rangers' transfer bid for Bedoya was been rejected by Örebro. Rangers' coach Ally McCoist told reporters that the bid was rejected by Bedoya's Allsvenskan club. It now looks like he will have to wait for the January transfer window when he will be out-of-contract.
Carlos Bocanegra, defender; Saint-Etienne, France
After moving between French sides from Stade Rennais to AS Saint-Etienne, the defender made 33 starts, missing only match because of suspension abd another because of a late return from the U.S. men.
Michael Bradley, midfielder; Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany
After moving from relegation-threatened Borussia Mönchengladbach of the German Bundesliga to Aston Villa of the English Premier League on loan in January, Bradley made just three appearances as a reserve. Villa coach Alex McLeish decided not to pick up a purchase option, so Bradley has returned to Mönchengladbach, where his status is uncertain. The media says inquiries have come in from Paris St. Germain, Hamburg, Genoa and Bologna, but so far nothing has materialized. Some believe he will be paid for the final year of his contract, but will essentially sit out the season.
Edson Buddle, forward; Ingolstadt 04, Germany
The long-time MLS player signed a multi-season contract with Ingolstadt, the second-division club, in January. He was a starter, but managed only three goals. He has been in and out of the lineup in preseason, and will likely start the season on the bench.
Timmy Chandler, defender; FC Nürnberg, Germany
After a terrific first season at FC Nürnberg, Chandler is back in the starting lineup. Last weekend, in the club's final preseason game, he played 70 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Racing Santander.
Steve Cherundolo, defender; Hannover 96, Germany
Cherundolo will again wear the captain's armband for the 2011-2012 season. The 32-year-old right back has returned to training after a month's absence from the torn ankle ligament suffered for the U.S. in the Gold Cup final. It is not clear yet if he will be fit for the season opener.
Ricardo Clark, midfielder; Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany
After an injury-marred season, Clark is hoping for better things this year, as is his team after being relegated to the 2. Bundesliga. He has been in and out of the starting side in preseason.
Clint Dempsey, midfielder-forward; Fulham, England
Dempsey is hoping for another season near the record campaign he had for Fulham last year. He led his team to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League and ended up scoring more goals then any American in Premiership history, a team-best 12 goals.
Mikkel Diskerud, midfielder-defense; Stabæk IF, Norway
In his second season, Diskerud is a regular starter as a midfield-defender with Stabæk, which now is in midseason. Last weekend, Stabæk defeated IK Start 4-1 to move into fifth place in the Tippeligaen standings. Diskerud went the distance for the Blues in central midfield in the winning effort.
Maurice Edu, midfielder; Glasgow Rangers, Scotland
Edu is coming off an inconsistent season with Rangers. He scored important goals, but was responsible for a disastrous own goal that sent the club out of the European Champions League. This season, he started in the center of midfield in the first league match, as well as in a Champions League play-in loss to Malmo. So now, he is being moved to the right wing to find if he fits in better on the outside.
Robbie Findley, forward; Nottingham Forest, England
Out with an injury almost from the moment he moved from MLS to Forest, he ended up with only 37 total minutes of game action last season. He is seeing playing time now in Forest's preseason and scored the game-winner of a 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart. He beat a defender down the left side and his shot deflected off a defender and into the net.
Brad Friedel, goalkeeper; Tottenham Hotspur, England
When Aston Villa delayed offering him a new contract after last season, Friedel moved quickly to accept a two-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur. The 40-year-old keeper said he was going to Spurs to become the starter, but after a preseason tour of South Africa it appears the incumbent, Brazilian international Heurelho Gomez, will get the nod on opening day and Friedel will be the backup.
Clarence Goodson, defender; Brøndby IF, Denmark
The tall defender made a switch from IK Start of Norway last November and made only an occasional start. This season, now half over, he has become a starting central defender and last weekend went the distance in Brøndby's 2-2 draw with Aalborg BK.
Brad Guzan, goalkeeper; Aston Villa, England
Last season, Villa loaned Guzan to second-tier Hull City, which now wants him full-time. Yet, it looks like he will stay at Villa and back up new keeper Shay Given.
Marcus Hahnemann, goalkeeper, out-of-contract
Hahnemann lost his starter's job with Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 games into last season and his contract was not renewed. After flirting with Hull City this summer, it looks like his 12-year career in England has come to an end and he will end up in MLS where he will replace the retiring Kasey Keller in Seattle.
Stuart Holden, midfielder; Bolton Wanderers, England
Holden had an up-and-down first season with Bolton,but was coming on strong when he was hit by a serous knee injury that required surgery. He is still working his way back to fitness and has not appeared in the preseason.
Tim Howard, goalkeeper; Everton, England
Howard will be back in goal for Everton this season after some preseason transfer talk that had the net-minder a transfer target for a top Premier League team.
Jermaine Jones, midfielder; Schalke 04, Germany
In a tumultuous season, Jones had a serious falling out last year with Schalke manager Felix Magath and was loaned to Blackburn Rovers in England, where he fit right in. Blackburn wanted him back, but could not meet Schalke's multi-million-dollar price tag. Magath doesn't want him back either nor does the club want to keep paying his reported $5.7 million salary for 2011-12. If the German media is to be believed, he might end up playing in Russia.
Sacha Kljestan, midfielder; Anderlecht, Belgium
Kljestan had a decent season with Anderlecht last year making 23 appearances and scoring three goals. He did not dress for the club's opening match or final preseason clashes.
Eric Lichaj, defender; Aston Villa, England
Lichaj, a right back, has not been able to crack the game-day lineup at Aston Villa. but went to Leeds United on loan for the second half of last season. Now reportedly, Leeds is in talks with Villa to acquire his contract, but there is no resolution so far.
Oguchi Onyewu, defender; Sporting Lisbon, Portugal
After transferring from Standard de Liège of Belgium to AC Milan, his first season in Italy was lost to injury. He sat in the stands for the first half of his second season when he was loaned out to FC Twente in the Netherlands, managed by his former Standard manager Michel Preud'homme. He had a tough time breaking into a lineup with a set defense, but did play some at left back. He had nine league appearances.
Now he might have found a new home where he fits in. At Sporting Lisbon, he arrives at a team in need of defensive help. If the preseason is any judge, he will be a starter. Last weekend in an exhibition against Juventus in Toronto, he started in a 2-1 triumph where, in the first half, he picked up an assist by heading down a corner kick for Yannick Djalo to put away.
Jonathan Spector, defender-midfielder; Birmingham City, England
After a strange year at West Ham United, where he sometimes sat on the bench or in the stands, sometimes appeared as a substitute and sometimes started, Spector saw his contract not renewed after new manager Sam Allardyce arrived. So he moved on to Birmingham City of the seconds-tier League Championship. He signed a one-year contract with options for additional years. City manager Chris Hughton says he will use Spector both in midfield and on defense.
David Yelldell, goalkeeper; Bayer Leverkusen, Germany
After a good season with MSV Diusburg of the 2. Bundesliga, Yelldell has finally made it to a big team, signing a multi-year deal with Bundesliga runnerup Bayer Leverkusen. He is competing for the starting position and looks to have won it after Rene Adler was ruled out after undergoing knee surgery.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
Do you have a comment on this story or something to say about soccer in general? Send us a letter.
©Copyright 2011 SoccerTimes.com. All Rights Reserved.