If you haven’t heard yet, United States national team and New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream is headed to the Premier League to trial with West Bromwich and Bolton this winter.
I think most Ream fans would agree the more experience against top competition he gains, the better chance he has at fulfilling Jurgen Klinsmann’s, and the rest of the nation’s, high expectations for him.
If you are a fan of the Red Bulls or USMNT, you most likely have your own opinion on the projected star, but for those just starting to get a whiff of the man, here is your scouting report.
For those new to Tim Ream, first know he actually isn’t as strong a defender as his club and country caps may imply. He earns his starts thanks to his passing abilities and definitely not with tactician-like attributes.
At just 6’1" and 165 pounds, Ream cannot really be considered a big bruiser, and his lack of size isn’t even compensated for by terrific speed or jumping ability.
He is a steady defender who is relatively cautious when it comes to making challenges. Thanks to this, he rarely picks up yellow cards in games. In fact, Ream finished the season 14th on the Red Bulls in fouls conceded, despite playing in almost every game.
Ream’s lack of extraordinary physical characteristics prevent him from being a dominant force in the back, but he can get the job done when you aren't noticing him.
Ironically, Ream is more praised when the ball is at his feet than when the ball is with his opponents.
The main reason for the Tim Ream revelation earlier this year by Klinsmann, and even Arsene Wenger, was due to the kid's amazing control and passing abilities out of the back.
He has the swerve and touch of a central midfielder and is used as a reliable resource in the middle by his fellow Red Bull teammates.
Due to his lack of size, Ream is not exactly an aerial threat when it comes to set pieces, yet he can make more attacking opportunities happen in the run of play than most starting Premier League defenders today can.
From the outside perspective, it seems Ream is neither a follower nor a leader. Rather, a man doing his business relatively under the radar until a moment occurs.
What type of moments am I talking about? These type of moments.
The American defender is very susceptible to mental lapses that can often lead to game-changing moments that leave fans pulling their hair out. The reason why many USMNT fans are still questioning Ream’s credibility is because of these unfortunate mistakes that he makes once every couple months at the wrong time.
Example 1: At 2:41
Example 2: At 7:40
However, while “Ream Disasters” inspire thousands of haters to turn against the 24-year-old, his habit of incredible saves after boyhood blunders causes a vicious cycle of love/hate with the fans.
It seems no matter how hard Ream tries to hide from the spotlight, he gets pulled back into it due to these moments of disaster and brilliance. Eliminating the right type of these moments is what will make him successful at the next level.
It will be interesting to see how Ream does in his first training sessions on English soil this winter.
While his average size and disastrous moments cause multiple people to criticize, his passing abilities and game-saving stops are what have legendary coaches like Klinsmann and Wenger so excited.
If he can work on his defensive confidence and mental focus this winter, I have no doubt he will become everything we expect him to be once he returns back stateside.