Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Monday, August 21, 2006
  My favorite time of the year
Honest, this is my favorite time of the year. MLS season is heading to the playoffs. The season has started in England: heck, Ipswich are on TV here on Friday...not that they've done much so far this season to get excited about. I'm even watching Accrington Stanley play Notts Forest right now. College Football starts in a couple of weeks. NFL preseason has started. You've got to love it. There's so much to Tivo right now. I just finished watching the last couple of Tour de France stages--doped or not, that was a heck of a stage by Floyd Landis). Guess I can expect to go without sleep for a while...just like during the World Cup.

Anyway, the reason I mention all that is I watched two matches last night. I'm not counting the ManU-Fulham match as I couldn't watch once Man U went 3-0 up. The Reading-Middlesbrough and LA-Dallas games. Two players stood out to me: Bobby Convey and Landon Donovan. Not because they were the best players on the pitch but more the difference in how their careers have gone.

Convey signed with MLS at a young age. He grew and developed with DC and then went to Europe when he got the chance. He had a couple of disappointing years in England before he came to life. He looked like a seasoned professional and I hafta say he's a much better player than I thought he'd be when I was watching him at DC.

Donovan signed with Bayer Leverkusen at a young age. He was home sick and struggled to find a spot in the team. He managed to get a loan deal done to send him to San Jose. He excelled there and when he came time to go back to Leverkusen, he gave it about 5 games before deciding it was too much effort to fight for a spot (my opinion) and jumped at the chance to move to LA full time. He's a gifted player and carried LA through the playoffs last season, but you can do that when you are a big fish in a small pond.

A couple months ago back in Germany, you saw two different players. Convey was one of the bright lights for the pathetic US side. The jury is still out if Donovan was actually there.

Convey is playing well above his abilities, Donovan seems to play within himself unless the season is on the line. I know who I'd rather watch.
 
Comments:
The sc... er, Ipswich are on TV in the States on Friday? You were watching Carling Cup action? What magic TV setup do you have?!
 
KJ, nothing magic, just a bit of money and it could be yours. Just call DirecTV and get them to install a dish at your place then call and say you want to pay an additionl $11.99/month for Setanta and you too could be watching even more excellent soccer. :)

http://www.setanta.com/portal/systemcontent/page?open&systemtitle=howtosubscribe
 
Ahh, yes, Setanta. If only I could put a dish at my current place.

Of course, I'd probably never leave the place if I had that. =)
 
I'm married so there's no chance I'd spend my life watching soccer. She keeps me in line. Though I don't get nearly as much as I'd like. Oh well, ya can't have everything.
 
pretty much agree with you on the convey and landon comments. correct me if i am wrong but even when convey was developing in the mls, he was not "the man" if you will but more of a support player who excelled in his role. when landon was at san hosay and the galaxy, he was/is the playmaker, goalscorer, and poster boy. his time at leverkuesen, he found out there were a lot of other players as good as he and media criticism.

another observation is the americans who have succeeded in britain and europe have usually started off with a "smaller team", keller-millwall, convey-reading, demerit-watford, mcbride-preston, and a few more in germany, holland, and france while landon went to a team vying to be champions in the bundesliga and in the champions league with the added pressure.
 
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

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Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
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