Mom, I'm Home! Four American Soccer Players Who Should Return
United States National Team icon and long-time captain Claudio Reyna did it. He came home to the United States after playing in Europe for 13 years.
Reyna left Manchester City to captain the New York Red Bulls. He eventually retired as the #10 in a Red Bulls uniform.
The following four American soccer players should follow in Reyna's footsteps and return home to continue their professional careers.
Some, like Reyna, should do so after impressive forays into the land of club soccer. Others should return after dismal European disasters.
Whatever the reason, the following four players would do better to return home.
The teenage phenom is still only a spritely 21 year old, and after three seasons of oblivion in Europe he should try his hand at it in the states again.
Adu has appeared in approximately 35 games during his time abroad, and scored around 5 goals (I can't find any exact statistics).
He currently is on loan in Greece at Aris Thessaloniki, and says that starting four games in a row there makes him "feel like a new person." He has not started that many games in a row since playing in the MLS.
After a failed European experiment, Adu should come home. The attacking midfielder has good technical skills and is capable on the ball. These skills are something that MLS teams are constantly looking for in potential signees, because many American players do not have a great touch.
What Adu mainly lacks is awareness and defensive know how. The MLS has a slower speed of play than other leagues of comparable quality around the world.
As such, he will not be overwhelmed here by players zipping past him. The prototypical American work ethic will also improve his defensive efforts.
On top of all of this, the MLS would get a lot of publicity if Freddy Adu were to return. And bust or not, that is good for U.S. soccer as a whole.
Eddie Johnson burst onto the scene in 2004 by scoring 12 goals in 26 games for the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas).
The next two seasons he was hampered by injuries. the 2007 season was Johnson's best, and final year in the MLS as he notched 15 tallies in 27 games, proving that '04 was not a fluke.
But his 2007 move to English side to Fulham never panned out. Johnson has only made eight appearances, and scored no goals.
A year long loan to Championship side Cardiff City was mediocre at best as he managed to only score just twice in 29 appearances.
Similar to Adu, Johnson has had his best days in Europe with Aris Thessaloniki by scoring five times in 16 games.
This is hardly an impressive rate, and the forward was returned to Fulham for the upcoming season. There are easily four people ahead of him on the depth chart.
Johnson should come back to the MLS. When healthy, the 26-year old has lightning fast feet, and can score in droves. Most importantly American teams know he will not need any time to adapt the league.
It seems like DaMarcus Beasley has been around forever.
He signed with the MLS at the tender age of 16. The speedy winger proceeded to spend five seasons with the Chicago Fire, and except for a disappointing 2004, he did not fail to impress.
In fact, in 2003 he became the first player under 22 years of age to be named to the MLS Best XI.
In the summer of 2004 he moved to Dutch giant PSV Eindhoven and performed admirably there. He scored in his debut, and tallied four goals in 12 Champions League matches during his first season.
He became a regular, and appeared in 73 games during his two year stint.
Since then injuries have slowed the end-to-end midfielder, although he has still played very well when healthy.
His 2006 loan to Manchester City was cut short by a hamstring injury, and he has not completed a full season since then while playing for Rangers.
Beasley is currently unsigned, and has stated he wants to stay in Europe but leave Scotland. Despite this, he is an ideal candidate to return home.
MLS teams play less games than many of the top European sides which will help Beasley.
He will have more time to rest during the off season, and will accumulate less wear and tear. Beasley is also very familiar with the league having played here for five years.
DaMarcus says he still wants to make the next World Cup squad, and he can do that by playing in the U.S. for two years and then going to Europe.
Players such as Jozy Altidore, and Stuart Holden show that the MLS can be a great staging ground.
Beasley would not lose anything by returning home.
Girls love him and guys want to be him: Carlos Bocanegra, the U.S. National Team captain since 2008, is a familiar name to even casual U.S. soccer fans.
The 31-year old has played in Europe for the last eight years.
After three standout seasons at UCLA, Bocanegra was drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2000. He was named MLS Rookie of the Year and won back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year awards in 2002 and 2003.
He subsequently moved to Fulham, and immediately became a staple in the back.
After five yearsa, nd over 100 appearances with the English side, Bocanegra moved to Ligue 1 club Stade Rennes, and became a starter there as well.
However, his recent transfer to Saint Etienne is cause for concern. Although historically one of the most successful French teams, the Greens have finished 17th the past two seasons, just above the relegation zone.
It's time for Captain America to come home (never thought I'd say that). Despite a World Cup that brought up some questions about his pace, Bocanegra would still be one of the best defenders in the MLS.
He is great in the air both offensively, and defensively. Most importantly he has the experience, leadership, and confidence that few other MLS players can match.
Bocanegra would be a great addition to any American outfit and, might even attract some U.S. soccer fans who do not typically watch the MLS. It would be great to see the two-time world cup veteran return home.