Where the Top U.S. Players Abroad Will Be Playing This Season
Now that the United States men’s national team’s long summer is done and dusted, in which the Americans won 11 straight games including three World Cup qualifiers and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, it is now time for each American playing abroad to refocus their efforts on the upcoming club season.
Here is where each American will be playing this upcoming season.
The Premier League Boys
The big news in the English Premier League this season from a USMNT fan's perspective is Sunderland’s signing of striker Jozy Altidore. Following his 31-goal campaign for AZ Alkmaar, Altidore made the big money move back to England after playing there for Hull City in the 2009-10 season. At Sunderland, Altidore will be working with controversial manager Paolo Di Canio, who helped saved Sunderland from relegation after taking over the team late in the 2012-13 campaign.
There has been plenty of transfer talk once again surrounding Clint Dempsey as several reports this summer have claimed that Tottenham are looking to offload Dempsey after only one season at Spurs. Assuming he stays, Dempsey will hope to further integrate himself into Spurs’ side this season and improve on his seven-goal campaign from last year.
However, he will face plenty of competition for playing time among Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby as well as some potential attackers Tottenham is still looking to bring in before the end of the transfer window.
On the team level, Spurs will be looking to finally capture the Champions League place that has so narrowly, and cruelly, avoided them the last two seasons.
Also at Tottenham, Brad Friedel remains an active player at the ripe age of 42, but is now firmly planted behind Hugo Lloris as Spurs No. 1 in the net.
Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Brek Shea all return to Stoke City this season which struggled mightily down the stretch last year and narrowly avoided relegation. They will have a new manager to impress as long-time coach Tony Pulis has moved on and been replaced by Mark Hughes.
Cameron will hope to replicate his 2012-13 campaign in which he made a remarkable 35 league appearances while Shea will look to drastically improve his playing time after only making two appearances last year. Edu will apparently return to the club and fight for a spot after being loaned out last season to Bursaspor in Turkey.
After starting 36 league games in 2012-13, Brad Guzan is now undoubtedly the No. 1 in the net for Aston Villa. Villa itself will hope to improve on their poor campaign last season and avoid the relegation battle they faced all last spring.
Tim Howard has been warned by new manager Roberto Martinez that he will face competition for the No. 1 job at goalkeeper this year at Everton. The 34-year-old Howard has been the top choice at Everton for the past seven seasons, but after a slight dip in form in 2012-13, he will have to hold off new signing Joel Robles.
Jermaine Jones will be back with Schalke in the Bundesliga, once again hoping to lead the team to success not only domestically, but in the Champions League as well. Jones started 23 of Schalke’s 34 league matches in 2012-13, despite fighting his way through several injuries.
Steve Cherundolo returns to Hannover 96 and will continue to captain the squad, although his body appears to be breaking down on him at the age of 34. Cherundolo has endured two knee surgeries in the past few months and took this summer off from USMNT duty to recover. He needs a strong season this fall and spring to stay in contention for a World Cup roster spot in 2014.
Timmy Chandler had a strong campaign last year starting 29 games for FC Nurnberg and, despite failing to convince many USMNT fans of his commitment to Team USA, is still widely considered the best prospect for the U.S. at right-back for the 2014 World Cup.
Fabian Johnson started 31 games last season for Hoffenheim and will look to help the club do much better this season. In 2012-13, Hoffenheim needed several near-miraculous wins to avoid relegation, qualifying for the Bundesliga relegation/promotion playoffs on the last day of the season and then winning those playoffs to stay in the German top-flight.
After becoming a stalwart for Nordsjaelland over the past five seasons, Michael Parkhurst made an ill-fated decision to join Augsburg during the January transfer window last season. With Augsburg, Parkhurst barely played, only registering two appearances all spring. Augsburg only avoid relegation by two points and both the team and Parkhurst will have to do much better if he hopes to make the U.S. World Cup 2014 roster.
John Anthony Brooks helped Hertha Berlin to promotion from Bundesliga 2 last season, starting 26 games for Hertha in their successful campaign. Now in the top-flight, Brooks and Hertha will be looking to stay up. In good news for the USMNT, reports on Sunday claimed that Brooks, a dual national, will be accepting a U.S. call-up for their August friendly against Bosnia. The 6’ 6” center-back could be a major help to a U.S. squad struggling for depth at that position.
Joe Gyau, 20-year-old speedy American winger, will be playing with Hoffenheim II in the Regionalliga this year after his loan to St. Pauli in Bundesliga 2 was not renewed.
Bobby Wood will be hoping to impress this year with 1860 Munich. The 20-year-old American attacker spent last season jumping between 1860’s first and second teams. He was also on the preliminary Gold Cup roster for the U.S. this summer, indicating that he is on U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s radar.
In the English Championship
Danny Williams, who at one point last fall looked to be the U.S.’ best option at holding midfielder, has left Germany’s Hoffenheim for Reading in the English Championship. At the end of the 2012-13 season, with Hoffenheim fighting relegation, Williams rarely made the game-day squad. He will be looking to resurrect both his club and national team career this year.
Despite struggling with injuries last year, Jonathan Spector still made 25 appearances last year for Birmingham City and will hope to improve on that this year.
Will Packwood was just starting to impress last season for Birmingham City before suffering a ghastly leg break which forced him to miss the rest of the season and this summer’s U-20 World Cup. He is still recovering from the injury.
American center-back Tim Ream only made 13 starts last year for Bolton Wanderers and, after struggling for playing time, is apparently going to be given a shot at left-back for Bolton in the upcoming Championship campaign.
Stuart Holden made a bright and brave recovery from successive knee surgeries to get back on the field for Bolton last spring and the USMNT this summer, but was taken off in the Gold Cup final after re-injuring his knee with a torn ACL. This latest setback, Holden's professional career could be in serious jepordy.
After several up-and-down seasons with Aston Villa, Eric Lichaj has moved to Championship side Nottingham Forest where he will hope to put his club and national team career back on track.
Elsewhere in Europe
After only making one La Liga start for Champions League side Malaga last year, many expected Oguchi Onyewu to be looking for another team. However, Onyewu has not yet made a move and may be destined for another season watching from the sidelines in Spain.
Michael Bradley will hope to continue on his excellent season with Roma in 2012-13 where he played in 30 Italian Serie A matches and where Roma narrowly missed qualifying for the Europa League.
Icelandic-American Aron Jóhannsson , who moved to Jozy Altidore’s former club AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie last winter, reportedly declared today that he has chosen to represent the U.S. internationally in a Soccer by Ives report by Daniel Karell. At AZ, Jóhannsson should have plenty of opportunity with Altidore moving away from the club.
Terrence Boyd is already off the mark with Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga this season, scoring twice in his first start. He will be looking to replicate his 2012-13 form in which he scored 17 goals in all competitions.
Sacha Kljestan has already started his season for Belgian Champions Anderlecht, although he had to come off in the 25th minute of yesterday’s match after catching an elbow that nearly ripped off his ear. Kljestan has been a stalwart for the last three seasons for the Belgian powerhouse side.
Do not look if you are a little squeamish. Pic of my ear after the elbow I caught today. pic.twitter.com/DB0d0o7dZn— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) July 28, 2013
Following an impressive performance for the USMNT in this summer’s Gold Cup, Mikkel Diskerud will return to Norway’s Rosenborg, which is already 17 games into its season.
Josh Gatt was recently injured while playing for Norway’s Molde which is in danger of relegation midway through their season. Gatt will miss the rest of the year after undergoing surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.
Steve Clark’s Hønefoss BK is in danger of falling out of Norway’s first division as they lie in 15th place (out of 16 teams) midway through the season. Clark has started all 17 games in Hønefoss’ net this year.
After a strong finish to the U.S.’ Gold Cup campaign, Alejandro Bedoya will return to Sweden’s Helsingborg which is in first place 17 games into their 2013 season.
Conor O’Brien will be playing this year for Nordsjaelland in the Danish league. Nordsjaelland has also qualified for the qualifying rounds of the Champions League this year.
South of the Border
Herculez Gomez, Greg Garza, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona will all play this season for Tijauna in Liga MX. Gomez joined the team and his fellow Americans at the club in June.
The 21-year-old Garza will hope to make a big impact this season after making 10 appearances last season, although he will compete for time with fellow American and fellow left-back Edgar Castillo, who is entrenched as the team’s No. 1 on the left for now.
After an impressive Gold Cup campaign, Corona will look to keep playing well at club level and push for more playing time with the U.S. national team. Gomez will miss the first few weeks of the season with a knee injury.
Jose Torres will again be with Tigres after a solid Clausura in which he started 17 games after moving to the club over the winter break from CF Pachuca.
DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco will be with Puebla again this season. Beasley was initially transfer-listed in the summer, but then re-signed with the club.
Freddy Adu is still struggling for playing time with Bahia in Brazil.
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