Best and Worst of 2006
Top American Player
While Clint Dempsey won the US Soccer male player of the year award thanks in large part to his goal in the World Cup, Convey would have been a more deserving recipient. Convey who has made dramatic improvement in his game since going to England a few years ago helped spearhead Reading’s first ever promotion to the top flight of English football. Convey also was a mainstay for the national team and once again showed that he is willing to sacrifice his body and accolades for the team. Too bad not everyone on the US team felt the same way.
DeMerit who is still uncapped as an international helped lead Watford to the top flight of English Football with a goal in the playoff finals versus Leeds. DeMerit is exactly the kind of tough back line enforcer the US thought they had with Oguchi Onyewu, until we saw Onyewu’s numerous mistakes against top competition. DeMerit is the heart and should of the Watford backline who despite likely relegation remains an effective unit. (it is Watford’s inability to score goals that has the team in last place in the EPL)
Best Coaching Move
Bruce Arena’s decision to play a 4-5-1 formation. Though it has been panned by many, this formation actually allowed the US to maintain a substantial amount of possession against three superior opponents. Arena deserves some credit for this move, especially considering tactics and formations are not his strength.
Are you kidding? This was the easiest pick of all. Donovan’s unwillingness to embrace a leadership role with US Soccer and his lifestyle choices have left American soccer fans looking past Donovan for the next great American hope.
Worst Coaching Move
Arena’s decision to take the broken down John O’Brien to Germany. O’Brien’s roster spot could have gone to among others, Taylor Twellman, Freddy Adu, Jay Demerit or Conor Casey.
Keep an eye on for 2007
Tie: Kenny Cooper, the FC Dallas Forward who has been called to training camp by Bob Bradley and Jonathan Spector of West Ham, the one player new manager Alan Curbishley seems to be able to rely on for the Hammers.