It’s been a great week here at TSG from our opening rivals piece, to the community gathering on Tuesday and to Wednesday’s piece and your support of Little Feet. (If you didn’t check out our Little Feet piece, please do.)
…and it continues today with a knockout of a first-time piece by TSG community member Brian Mechanick of Philadelphia and Ann Arbor U.
Brian’s a seasoned writer, penning pieces for the Michigan Daily and CHorridus.com (a Philly Union blog which is dynamite). B-Mac’s also a USMNT fan and a Tottenham Hotspur fan. Two out of three isn’t bad Brian.
After an MLS offseason that saw young USMNT players Ricardo Clark and Stu Holden transfer to Europe, it’s now time for the next wave of players to get the chance to showcase their skill in the best leagues of the world. I’m going to focus here on the seven young Americans playing domestically and where they should move to abroad to best further their careers:
1. Robbie Rogers – PSV Einhoven
Robbie is no stranger to the Eredivisie, having been a member of Heerenveen in his first professional season. He was unable to break into the first-team in the Netherlands, but since he has come back to the States he has developed into a premier MLS player. I think Rogers would do well to return to Holland as a member of a PSV side that helped DaMarcus Beasley to the best years of his career. The team is managed by Fred Rutten, a Guus Hiddink protégé, who has led them into Champions League contention. With winger Balázs Dzsudzsák a transfer target this summer, Rogers could find himself playing time quickly at PSV.
2. Sacha Kljestan – Paris Saint-Germain
Ah, Sacha Kljestan. Hard to believe that less than one year ago he was starting against Brazil in the Confederations Cup. Since then, the majestic haired attacking midfielder has fallen way out of form and has gotten himself a girlfriend that looks like this. So… we’ll call it even. Still, everyone can agree that he needs to move to Europe for his game to keep growing. We can’t stick Sacha and his WAG in some backwater town, so how about a move Paris with PSG? With Claude Makélélé not getting any younger, you could see Sacha taking an attacking role as Jérémy Clément replaces Claude. Hey, if PSG was good enough for Ronaldinho, it’s good enough for Sacha.
3. Omar Gonzalez – Everton
I’m going to defer to TSG Headquarters who already suggested this move, but I absolutely love it. David Moyes is a fantastic manager and there may be no better place for Americans abroad. With a defense that isn’t exactly top notch (as giving up two goals to West Ham today shows) and Sylvan Distin not exactly setting the world on fire, I could see Omar quickly becoming a starter at Goodison Park.
4. Jonathan Bornstein – Wigan Athletic
The Latics have been the most inconsistent team in the EPL this season, and their leaky defense (9-1 to Spurs ring a bell?) has been their biggest weakness. With arguably their best player in LB Maynor Figueroa likely moving this offseason, Wigan is in the need for a replacement. Bornstein, who is very talented going forward, would fill in suitably for Figueroa’s dynamic role on the team. For all their problems, Roberto Martinez has installed a nice brand of football with the Latics, and it would do Johnny B. well to go up against top-flight wingers week in and week out.
5. Chad Marshall – SC Freiburg
I admit I have ulterior motives for this one. The USMNT chatter has begun to focus on 21 year-old German left back Daniel Williams, who has US eligibility. I’m sending our boy Chad over to be a diplomat of the Yanks, to convince young Daniel to ditch däs Deutsche for Coach Sweatpants and the USA. Presuming Freiburg is able to stay up this year, Marshall could really improve its putrid defense that is tied for 3rd worst in the Bundesliga. I’d like to see Marshall work on his game against the likes of Edin Dzeko and Mario Gomez.
6. Robbie Findley – SC Braga
Robbie is a guy who I think could benefit from playing in the more open football in the Portuguese Liga. Braga, who will likely be playing in the Champions League next year, has had a fine season despite a major dearth of scoring. Leading scorer Ze Meyong has only 9 goals, so Findley could be an instant impact guy on the side. Braga has shown an interest in American talent, acquiring U-20 layer Gale Agbossoumonde recently, so they wouldn’t seem to be averse to going after a guy like Findley. Let’s hope Robbie could have the success in Portugal that Freddy Adu has not.
7. Heath Pearce – Newcastle United
After a one-year stay in the Championship, Newcastle United is coming back next year to the Premiership, and will need some new players to strengthen the side. Heath Pearce excelled in Denmark, and if not for a fallout with Hansa Rostock, he would still be in Europe. The man is too talented for MLS. Fullback is an obvious need for Newcastle, and Pearce could be the man to lock down left back for the Magpies. Pearce would do well to learn from manager Chris Hughton, an excellent former fullback with Spurs and an Ireland international. The man has done an excellent job since taking over the team in-crisis and swiftly and decisively led them back to the EPL. Everyone in England is excited to see Newcastle back in the top-flight, and it sure would be exciting to see Heath coming through the tunnel of St. James Park with the new, retooled Toons.