Oguchi Onyewu's Transfer to A.C. Milan and What It Means

Travis ClarkContributor IJuly 7, 2009

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 28:  Oguchi Onyewu of USA in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup Final between USA and Brazil at the Ellis Park Stadium on June 28, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

For the American soccer fan, seeing a U.S. Men's National team regular get snatched up by one of Europe's big clubs always instigates feelings of euphoria.

Brighter visions of success always accompany a move such as that, as yet another player will get a chance to stand toe-to-toe with some of the game's best and brightest talents.

The latest in the transfer merry-go-round is hulking defender Oguchi Onyewu, fresh off a solid performance in the Confederations Cup, getting snatched up by Italian club A.C. Milan Tuesday morning.

Onyewu, originally from Olney, Md., formerly played with Standard Liege of the Jupiler League, Belgium's first division. The 27-year-old has emerged as America's first-choice central defender. His move to Milan is a cause for fans across the states to rejoice.

This transfer can mean big things for U.S. Soccer in 2010.

It is now a possibility that a starting Serie A defender will also be marshaling the U.S. central defense when they kick off their World Cup campaign next year.

The trip to South Africa is going to be a great challenge, but having a player like Onyewu gaining experience in a high profile league will have the U.S. in better position to succeed.

Going up against world-class opposition within Serie A along with the UEFA Champions League will hopefully leave Onyewu poised for a spectacular performance in next year's World Cup.

However, as with everything in life, there's a potential downside to the move.

If Onyewu struggles for playing time, like many other Americans have in Europe, Bob Bradley could be left in a precarious position. Without regular play, Onyewu's fitness could come into question and leave the U.S. with a tough decision.

Recent performances from players like DeMarcus Beasley and Freddy Adu, both of whom struggled for playing time, indicate that it would be tough for Onyewu to perform up to a high level if he is froze out at Milan.

And not to say that is going to happen. For all the glitz and glamor of the club, they have questions at the back. Surely Onyewu is not being added to ride the bench.

That being said, he has arrived on a free transfer, and will certainly have to prove himself in order to gain a spot in the starting lineup. Hopefully, if he pulls that off, he'll help set up for what many hope will be a memorable run for the United States in the 2010 World Cup.