The Up-And-Comer: Alejandro Bedoya

Swedish translation

In 2006, Theo Walcott wore the label for England to much fanfare and debate.

Landon: Undoing Portugal in 2002

Landon: Undoing Portugal in 2002

Heading into a World Cup, it’s not uncommon for a manager to pick a player that is seemingly too green or perhaps considered by the populace just “not ready” for the occasion. Typically the player–through lack of caps alone–does not grasp the magnitude of their surrounding. It goes without saying they are not burdened with leadership responsibilities either.

That’s exactly what the manager is looking for in the cliched “x-factor” role.

Comparably, it seems as if the United States has sank or swam with young, though perhaps more experienced, players as the staple writers of its recent World Cup diaries.

2002 saw a precocious–and thick-scalped–Landon Donovan drive to the hole with aplomb, even going nutmeg, against quality defenders and teams (Portugal, Mexico, and Germany.) Landy, after getting his first senior cap only a year earlier, was one of the top global stories for soccer’s top tournament in South Korea. DaMarcus Beasley, too, acquitted himself well.

In a regrettable 2006 campaign it was Clint Dempsey, who made his impression by personally issuing  an arsenal of scissor-dribbles and step-overs. Those moves and his strike against Ghana threw the international spotlight on the Texan. Dempsey might have had two full years of qualifying games under his belt, but he was still only 23 when he made the World Cup charge.

Conversely, fleet-footed striker Eddie Johnson was unable to leave his mark in Germany in 2006 and is on the bubble for this year’s squad.

New Jersey’s very own Alejandro Bedoya seems poised to be one of the chosen youngsters for Bob Bradley’s crew bound for South Africa.

"On the come-up"

To hear Bedoya tell the story, his invitation to Camp Cupcake–his direct quote–in January of this year was more of a look-see. A hi, how-are-you nod for future involvement.

Well that’s not the script that got funded.

Bedoya, after a solid showing in his first senior camp and good play against Honduras, went Hollywood with an appearance in the USMNT measurement stick friendly against Holland in March. From there, the winger has continued his assault on a World Cup roster spot with his club team Orebro, notching a goal, an assist, and has he tells it, “a whole bunch of hockey assists too.”

Media types and die-hard fans alike are all pretty confident heading into tomorrow that Bedoya will be included in the “30” and that a few short weeks later, Bedoya’s luggage will be processed and earmarked for the baggage claim at Tambo International ….Johannesburg, South Africa.

TSG had the opportunity to chat recently with Boston College grad and quite frankly, it may have been the most fun interview we’ve done to date. Thanks and on to you, Alejandro Bedoya.

TSG: Good day Ale–actually, what time is it there?

Alejandro Bedoya: 3pm.

TSG: Did you just finish practice? How many do you have per day?

AB: Actually, day off today for us.

TSG: Alright, let’s get started. For many fans, you came out of nowhere this year. TSG saw you in January camp and was wondering why this was the first time we caught you on the field in a US practice jersey.

When did you know that Bob and US Soccer was looking at you for this cycle?

AB: Honestly, January camp was the beginning of it. First, to be called in at anytime is a rewarding honor.

But you know January, is you know, it’s called Camp Cupcake and I think they were just bringing me in to take a look. Anytime you get called in, whenever you get the chance, you just want to show them what you’ve got. You want to make an impression.

I wanted to show that I was a hard-working guy.

Bedoya: Coming on a lot sooner than anyone expected

TSG: Okay, just your second game in the uniform…a little bit different…coming up against the likes of Robben and Sneijder and, at the time, the FIFA-ranked #3 team in Holland. What was that like? Compare that to January.

Bedoya: Well, my first game in January at HDC, it was more like just taking it in. I really noticed the fans; they were great. But at the time it was more, “Hey, I’m part of the national team. This is cool.”

That atmosphere totally changed for the Holland game. Like you said, guys like Sneijder who’s great and who I watch in Champion’s League on TV. And I was like, “Ok, this is the big time.”

I kind of took the mentality that, “Hey I’m the new guy here. What do I have to lose. I’ll just go out and play the best I can.”

Sneijder and Bedoya tangoed in AB's first "big time" appearance

TSG: Great statement, both what you just said and your play in that game.

So what results after a game like that? Do you sit down with the staff and they go over your strengths and what you need to improve on?

AB: No, for this game, there was just a team meeting. Bob reminded everyone that we are in the middle of a World Cup year and that he would be keeping track of all the players which goes without saying.

I do know what I have to work on though: I need better defensive play. I have to work on my patience going forward in the attack and improve my shot. I’ve been doing those things.

TSG: So we read that Bob Bradley came out to visit you after the Netherlands game. You didn’t know he was coming?

AB: No, I never knew he was coming. He actually attended two games. Both a home game and an away game.

TSG: I hate asking this question, but using whatever diplomatic response you want, talk World Cup. Have you done enough to be called in…or tell us something besides the proverbial “percentages.”

AB : Ha. You know I get that question a lot. How do I know what my chances are or what my percentages are?

My job is to make it the most difficult decision possible for Bob Bradley. That’s my job.

My standing will be totally based how I perform here at Orebro. I’m got a goal and assist on the season. They don’t count, you know, but I’ve got a couple of hockey assists. I’ve got a bunch of those too.

Don't ask AB about his FIFA player ratings...

TSG: Back to working on your skills, your EA Sports FIFA ratings…well…they are just atrocious. Did you know that? You’re, like, below average in every category!

AB: You know–I’m sorry I have to curse here–I get sh*t from all my friends back home for my ratings. They all used to play Madden and now they play FIFA because I’m a player in it and the World Cup coming up and all.

They’re all like, “Man, you need to step up your game!”

You know FIFA was made kind of before I started being known a little. I play with Charlie (Charlie Davies) all the time and he’s constantly saying I’ve got to step it up.

That’s one thing, but when your friends and family are saying that, that you have to step it up, that’s tough, man.

Here’s a funny story. After the Holland game, one of the guys from EA Facebook messaged me asking me what I thought about the game and what position I play and my ratings. He said they didn’t know much about me.

TSG: You know your header rating is a “34” I think. That’s only better than Tim Howard on the whole US team.

AB: I know right! And the funny thing is if you ask people here at Orebro, they’ll tell you that’s one of my strengths–that when the ball goes up in the box, I go and get it.

TSG: Alright, we’ll give you a break from the FIFA stuff and talk World Cup. Do you have any fond memories of the USMNT growing up? Anybody you wanted to emulate?

Reyna: The #10 in 2002

AB: The quarterfinals in 2002 when we lost out to Germany, that was exciting. It was Germany, right. Up until that handball, it was a great moment for US soccer.

As for players, has to be Claudio Reyna. Everything he could do with the ball. Makes the passes. Maintain possession. He sort of set the bar.

TSG: And your club team is Barca, correct?

AB: Absolutely, I’ve loved Barca ever since growing up. My dad used to always watch the games so I guess that’s what got me into them. I just watched them all the time with my dad.

They’ve always had great players. Frank Rijkaard was a great coach and with him they were a fun team to watch….the epitome of exactly how football should be played.

TSG: You know, this is one of the most engaging interviews we’ve had.

AB: Thanks, I appreciate it. I guess I have to give a shout out to my education at Boston College.

TSG: We’ll make sure they find a copy of this interview up there. So you’re in Sweden now, moving on is there a league that you feel best suits your style?

Ale: Enjoying Orebro

AB: Well first, I love playing in Sweden and really enjoying playing for Orebro. I’m learning a lot here and I’m very happy. Sure in the future I’d think about moving. I would have to say a next step might be Holland or France or something.

But right now, I’m very happy at Orebro.

TSG: Okay, we’ll finish up here with some tap-ins. You’ve got the Holden brothers, the Kljestan brothers and now the Bedoya brothers–you’re brother recently got a trial up in Sweden, correct–as the up-and-comers from the States. You’re playing a little bit of two-man scrimmage with two tennis balls as the goals in a tournament against those guys. Who wins?

AB: Well, first my brother will actually be here this summer. But, oh wow. Oh wow. That’s a really tough question.

Well I’d guess I’d have to say I’m a competitor, l love to compete. I’m first, my brother and I are first for sure.

TSG: Who’s second?

AB: That’s a tough one too. I’ll just say they’re going to battle it out for who’s next. I’m not going to pick either.

TSG: Alright, fair enough. A common thing interviewers do–which is extremely lame, but still effective–is to put you on the spot and ask some quick word associations. We’ve got just a few for you. Just the first thing that comes to mind.

Jacking running backs...and soccer balls...

TSG: Oguchi Onyewu
AB: Linebacker.

TSG: Charlie Davies
AB: Joker.

TSG: Stu Holden.
AB: Oh wow…”Pretty boy?”

TSG: Sacha Kljestan.
Bedoya: Mustache…that’s what I call him.

TSG: Jozy Altidore

(Pause)

TSG: Don’t say headbutt.

Bedoya: You know, that was the first thing that came to my mind, but no, Jozy’s great. Fellow Florida boy.

TSG: Alright. Alejandro, really appreciate your time today. Any questions we’ve missed that you want to answer? Anything that you want to let the fans know?

Hmm. Well everyone thinks I’m from Florida. I from–I was born in New Jersey, then moved to Florida.

And well, I’m on the come-up. Look out for me.

Taking aim at South Africa...

—-

We will be Alejandro, in just about a month’s time.

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32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by itally on 2010/05/10 at 3:38 PM

    Mmm…Camp Cupcake!

    Reply

  2. Posted by reggie on 2010/05/10 at 3:58 PM

    lmao this was great i was laughing the whole time. i bet he’ll make the WC.

    Reply

  3. he seems like a funny guy

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/10 at 4:02 PM

      Super engaging guy. Was much more of a dialogue here with Ale. I think he hasn’t been inundated with requests just yet. We could have talked longer. The FIFA questions were great–thanks for all in the TSG community that helped with that.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on 2010/05/25 at 11:44 PM

        yeah this a bit late but that gave me a smile as doing the research for TSG surprised myself

        Reply

  4. Posted by brian on 2010/05/10 at 4:09 PM

    caption for the pic with Sneijder: “Put your right foot in…put your right foot out…”

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/10 at 4:10 PM

      Hi Brian — just gave me an idea for one.

      Reply

    • Posted by kaya on 2010/05/16 at 11:31 AM

      For some reason it’s reminding me of a LOL cat-esque video I’ve seen =) It’s what looks like a cat pawing a mirror but is in fact 2 cats mirroring each others moves. Not that I watch videos of cats… /cough cough.
      I missed a bunch of good stuff here the past couple weeks and just read this. Good interview and Bedoya seems like a fun guy. I like what I’ve seen of him on the field… certainly will hope for him in the 23 over several others in the 30.

      Reply

    • Posted by Faith on 2010/08/04 at 2:49 PM

      I just laughed so loudly at this that I had to apologize to the rest of my office.

      Reply

  5. Posted by KMac on 2010/05/10 at 4:48 PM

    Matthew,
    Great journalism again and congratulations on another very entertaining and engaging(as you put it) view inside the mind and accomplishments of Mr. Bedoya. I have to say, I am totally in the camp of Bedoya and again predict watching him go from a “30 (26-28 as Coach Bradley says)” call up tomorrow, to the 23 at the end of May, as I said in my March Jumble.

    Alejandro, go man, go!
    KMac

    Reply

  6. Posted by dude on 2010/05/10 at 5:22 PM

    This really is a great interview. How can you not want this guy on the plane?

    Reply

  7. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/05/10 at 6:50 PM

    Hey Matt, can we get some love from Robbie Rogers here? Every time i see him in the MNT kit he’s improven from his last outing. In the Gold Cup his weakest attribute was his strength, now look at him all buffed out. He can play, and effectively whip in, beautiful crosses from the left of the right wing. He can be the X-factor that you mentioned above with his ability to use a nice 1v1 move to get by 1 or 2 defenders and put in some service. You’ve even seen where he does that little dummy cross and get’s a wing back sliding n the ground and then gets into the box. He has golazo potential, and maybe he can play a little left back(only as seen in the 10-man Honduras match though).

    So what’s the deal?

    Reply

  8. Posted by Len on 2010/05/11 at 12:50 AM

    Another great interview. Definitely good to hear from someone who hasn’t been so jaded by the press. Always wanted to know what players thought of their fifa stats too. Fun stuff.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Gino on 2010/05/11 at 1:26 AM

    I just finished working a 16 hour shift but I just had to log onto TSG before going to sleep. This article was definitely worth it. It’s so refreshing to read an interview that isn’t filled with cliches and robotic answers. I hadn’t heard of Bedoya until reading TSG’s accounts of this kid tearing it up at the January camp. This interview gives me another reason to root for Alex, both with the Nats and as a club player. The fact that his favorite team is Barcelona probably clinches whose name I’m putting on my new USA jersey.

    Reply

    • I’m still gonna get Holden. A tribute to the former Houston man. That’s where he got his start and I’ve enjoyed watching him progress since 2006.
      Bedoya WILL start in 2014

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/11 at 10:10 PM

        Kevin. Since you’re a huge houston fan. Give us a question for stu. We are 99 percent sure we are getting 15 mins with him tomorrow.

        Reply

        • I may be late but ask him if he would consider an off season loan a la becks/Donovan? Preferably to Houston of course.

          Reply

  10. Posted by bryan on 2010/05/11 at 6:31 AM

    love this article

    Reply

  11. Posted by Berg on 2010/05/11 at 7:15 AM

    Great stuff here and in the Chuck Deez piece. It’s always great to see different sides of these players that you don’t necessarily get in the normal run of things.

    I’m rooting for Bedoya, absolutely loved the pace and the fearlessness he showed in the friendly. As has been said before, some tough choices for Bobbo in the midfield.

    Reply

  12. Really great interview, I’m more a fan of him now than I was before (and I already liked the guy). Sounds like he’s made the 30 (which was a pretty safe bet), looking forward to seeing him head to SA.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Chris R on 2010/05/11 at 11:47 AM

    love this interview // well done.

    Reply

  14. This kid has his own song. It’s legit. Written by lady gaga

    Reply

  15. [...] you’ve got the battle between Bedoya and Rogers. Bedoya, as we discussed when we interviewed him last week, is silky smooth with decent-enough size and a presence on the field that is exponentially higher [...]

    Reply

  16. [...] Shin Guardian did a great interview with Alejandro Bedoya late last [...]

    Reply

  17. [...] The Shin Guardian: The Up-And-Comer: Alejandro Bedoya [...]

    Reply

  18. Posted by hemvändarn on 2010/05/23 at 2:35 AM

    As a die hard ÖSK supporter I’m happy to find this interview. We’re all sure BB will see Ale as a World Cup player and his time in our team will be all too short but it’s well deserved and wish great success to the man.

    Thanks for an excellent interview.

    Reply

  19. [...] you haven’t read the pieces on or by these two guys at TSG, please do (Bedoya – Kennedy). Both of them, class acts. Thanks for the contributions as always [...]

    Reply

  20. [...] Ambassador 2014: Lately, we’ve got a lot of emails from folks asking if we can follow-up on our interview with Alejandro Bedoya (one of the most fun interviews we’ve done to date) from May of this year right before [...]

    Reply

  21. [...] Maurice Edu,  Alejandro Bedoya, Stu Holden, Benny Feilhaber, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Brek Shea, Clint [...]

    Reply

  22. […] B: Has anyone had a bigger 2013 than TSG’s ‘Ambassador to Brazil‘? […]

    Reply

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