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Americans Abroad

U.S. Olympian Casey signs long-term Bundesliga deal with Borussia Dortmund.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
Christopher Courtney (in Wuerzburg, Germany)
Willy Calderon (in Bristol, England)
and Mark Flannery (in Montpellier, France)

Conor Casey
Striker Conor Casey is contracted with Borussia Dortmund through 2005.
(Sunday, December 10, 2000) -- United States Olympic team and University of Portland striker Conor Casey is on his way to the German Bundesliga after signing a four-and-a-half-year contract with Borussia Dortmund.

Casey, 19, is expected to report to Dortmund early in January for the deal that runs through the 2005 season.

It is likely the 6-foot, 175-pound forward will start his Dortmund career with the reserve side which currently sits last in the German third division north and desperately needs help to avoid relegation to the fourth division. The same reserve squad, however, has also worked itís way to the semifinals of the DFB Amateur Cup, because it uses players from the first-team bench in those matches.

Conor Casey
Conor Casey
Casey may have a chance with the first team which has been searching for depth at forward after the loss of ace Heiko Herrlich to a brain tumor, but the team is already well stocked with quality non-European Union players on the first team. The team is allowed to dress three none-EU players for its matches.

Casey had one assist in the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia for the U.S. which advanced to the semifinals. He also registered an assist in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Casey becomes the second American attacker to have played for the popular Dortmund side. Jovan Kirovski spent a tumultuous five years with the club, before moving on to Portugalís Sporting Lisbon. Young Chicago-based keeper Adam Throop completed a trial recently at Dortmund, but was not offered a contract.

In England, U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel came up big for Blackburn in a scoreless draw with Queens Park Rangers. For the second match in a row, a tremendous last-minute save by Friedel preserved a draw for coach Graeme Souness' side.

Both teams traded excellent scoring chances. Both Friedel and Rangersí keeper, 39-year-old Ludek Miklosko were sharp, with Miklosko stopping a penalty kick in the first half. But the save of the match came in the closing seconds when Friedel was alert to make a desperate lunge, right on the line, to prevent an own goal after Blackburn defender Craig Short flubbed an attempted clearance of Richard Langleyís free kick.

U.S. midfiedler Ben Olsen was another American to have a big weekend, helping Nottinghanm Forest to defeat Portsmouth 2-0 at the City Ground. Olsenís best play in his solid 90 minutes was a defensive stop, clearing what appeared to be a sure goal off the line. With Forest leading 1-0, Portsmouth player-manager Steve Claridge appeared to have brought his team level, but Olsen cleared his shot. Of interest to MLS and especially Columbus Crew fans, while forward Stern John did not play for Forest, he is getting close. Still recovering from knee surgery, John did play in a Forest reserve match this week, a 1-1 draw with the Leicester City reserves. He recorded an assist in the match and twice came close to scoring.

In Germany, American defender Steve Cherundolo is gradually working his way back to fitness, following his long rehabilitation from knee surgery. He played the final 20 minutes of Hannoverís 2-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach and looked a bit better than his rusty performance in last week's DFB Cup game.

Also on the mend in Tony Sanneh. He has missed the past three weeks with a leg injury and he tells us it's getting better and that he hopes to resume training in the coming week.

In the Netherlands, U.S. forward Earnie Stewart and NAC Breda had a day they were rather forget. Stewart played the first 68 minutes of NACís road visit to Utrecht, a 5-0 embarrassment in which the team played a man short for the final 63 minutes. NAC stared three forwards in a vain attempt to generate some offense.

Riding the Pine

Kasey Keller (Rayo Vallecano, Spain) - Continued on the bench against Deportivo in league play despite back-to-back shutouts in UEFA Cup play.

Midfielder Claudio Reyna (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) - Served a one-match suspension for a red card in Rangersí previous league match. Rangers defeated Motherwell 2-0 despite missing seven normal starters.

Midfielder John O'Brien (Ajax, Amersterdam) - Continues to rehab his injured Achilles heel and did not dress is a 3-1 setback to Feyenoord.

Defender David Regis (Metz, France) - Is clearly out-of-favor after not dressing for 1-0 loss at Paris-St. Germain. He has had nagging injury problems, and reportedly is on the transfer block once again.

Midfielder Eddie Lewis (Fulham, England) - Did not dress for 3-1 defeat of West Bromwich 3-1.

Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (Fulham, England) - As usual, was on bench as backup against West Bromwich. Earlier in the week, played a strong match for the Fulham reserves in a 1-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers reserves.

Midfielder Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany) - Was on the bench but did not play in 4-0 drubbing of Hertha Berlin.

Midfielder Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany) - Still out injured and did not dress for the Leverkusen match.

Midfielder Jovan Kirovski (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal) - Was not one of seven substitutes dressed in 2-1 victory over as Sporting defeated Belenenses 2-1.

Goalkeeper Ian Feuer (Wimbledon, Engalnd) - On the substitutes bench for a 3-0 shutout of Birmingham.

Forward Stefani Miglioranzi (Portsmouth, England) - The U.S. eligible player was on the bench for 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. Earlier in the week, he had an inauspicious outing with Portsmouthís reserves who lost to last-place second division Luton Town 3-0. Miglioranzi was credited with an own goal, one of two gifted by Portsmouth in the match.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com. Christopher Courtney is an American living in Wuerzburg, Germany where he follows the fortunes of American players in Europe. He can be contacted at yanksgermany@yahoo.com. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, writes about soccer for various publications and netzines and can be contacted at willy@netcity.co.uk. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and can be e-mailed at flan.overseas@wanadoo.fr.

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