This is Part Two in a series of articles on the players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.
He is a man with a golden touch. A player who plied his trade in the middle of Ohio, the fieldturf of BMO, and now the confines of the Home Depot Center.
He is a footballer whose scoring renaissance brings hope that a certain president would be proud of.
He is Edson Buddle.
And with his torrid scoring pace, the countdown to a possible call-up to the USA Men's National Team's training camp may be winding down with every strike, every shot and every celebration.
Edson Michael Buddle was born on May 21, 1981 in New Rochelle, New York. His father, Winston Buddle, played soccer in his native Jamaica before immigrating to the States.
New Rochelle is located in Westchester County, located north of New York City, east of the Hudson River and west of Connecticut. The city is known for the Leland Museum and the Thomas Paine Cottage.
With New York Cosmos fever still running its course across the Big Apple, he named his son Edson after Edison Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pelé.
Ironically, Buddle was a late bloomer, only having been thrust into the spotlight as a member of the men's soccer team at State Fair Community College, located in Sedalia, a small Missouri town. In 1999, Buddle helped lead the Roadrunners to the NJCAA Division I National Championship.
The following year, Buddle returned to his home state for his only season with the Long Island Rough Riders. In those days, the Rough Riders competed in the A-League, but now they compete in the USL Premier Development League.
Buddle tallied 11 goals and four assists in helping the Rough Riders win the Northeast Division. For his efforts, he was recognized as a finalist for A-League rookie of the year in 2000.
The MLS was interested in what Buddle could do. Could this late bloomer from New Rochelle have what it takes to turn into the star that he would become?
The Columbus Crew thought so. They picked Buddle as the 27th pick in the 2001 MLS Super-Draft. A stalwart for the Massive from 2001 through 2005, Buddle scored 42 goals in 106 appearances.
2002 will go down as Buddle's most successful year with the Crew. He helped lead Columbus to the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship to go with a second place finish in the MLS Eastern Conference and a semifinal appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In 2004, the Crew not only won the East, but also garnered their first Supporters' Shield.
Edson was not without his troubles donning the black and gold of the Crew. In 2003, Buddle started only sixteen games last year due to injury. In 2005, Buddle only managed nine goals and two assists while violating the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Policy as a result of a failure to take a breathalyzer test.
2006 was a flux year for Buddle. Prior to the MLS season, he was traded to Red Bull New York for Eddie Gaven and Chris Leitch. In 28 appearances for the Red Bulls, Buddle scored six goals.
Later in the season, Buddle was traded to Toronto FC for Tim Regan. He was never a factor for Mo Johnston's club, managing 10 apperances without a single goal.
June 13, 2007 would go down as the date in which Edson Buddle began his career in the colors of the Galaxy blue and gold. That year, Buddle scored five goals in 10 appearances.
However, he would not make a big splash onto the scene until 2008, when he filled in for an injured Ruiz. In 26 appearances for Los Angeles, Buddle scored 15 goals, earning a couple of MLS Player of the Week honors for his hat trick prowess.
Last season was another difficult year for Buddle. The injury woes reared their undesirable heads once again, reducing LA's No. 14 to five goals in six matches. However, he was destined to return to form this season.
On March 27 against New England, Buddle officially got on the comeback trail two seconds into the fifth minute.
Shep Messing must have been a prophet when he said, "I don't think there's a better tandem up top than Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle...They complement each other. They don't take away each other's space, making it better for each other."
Buddle was flawless in positioning himself for the Donovan header that eventually gave the Galaxy their first victory of the season.
The following week in the Galaxy's 2-0 win over Chivas USA, Buddle was at it again with goals in the sixth and 86th minutes off deliveries by Sean Franklin and Donovan, respectively.
On the road against the Houston Dynamo, Buddle notched first-half goals in the 26th and 44th minutes for a 2-0 victory in Week 3. And last Saturday against Real Salt Lake, Buddle set a new record for most consecutive goals to start a season with seven in a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake.
Ironicially for Buddle, he only managed one cap of international duty: a March 29 friendly against Venezuela. While he was a staple of the U-20 and U23 sides, Buddle has yet to be a player who can prove himself on the world stage.
With his torrid scoring pace resulting in a return to form, the possibility of the door opening to the Men's National Team training camp once again could not be any more brighter.
It's a stretch to consider Edson Buddle the "American Pele," but with the possibility of 20 or more goals tallied in the 2010 Major League Soccer season at the rate the No. 14 for the Los Angeles Galaxy is going, the doubters may be wise to ponder the possibilities.