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Manchester City and North America: The Strong Connection

2005 10 19 weah the footballer 199x300 Manchester City and North America: The Strong Connection

George Weah in City colors/ All Sport UK Photo

The connections between Major League Soccer and my favorite international football club, Manchester City continue to grow with time. Monday, San Jose announced the signing of Darren Huckerby and Paul Dickov is about to sign with Toronto FC according to published reports. Manchester City has contributed more former players recently to the soccer setup in this country than just about any other international club, even those right across the border in Mexico.

Ivan Gazidis, the deputy commissioner of MLS is a self confessed Manchester City fan. Gazidis’ understanding of English football and its success has provided MLS under his leadership, a more international and broad looking approach. Claudio Reyna, Ronald Watterhaus, and Paulo Wanchope all signed in MLS last season, and all three choose MLS as the destination to end their careers. Terry Cooke (Colorado), Steve Howey (New England) and Ian Bishop (Miami) were three of the limited number of English imports to MLS in the earlier part of this decade. In the case of Cooke he’s made MLS and the Colorado Rapids his long-term footballing home and in Bishop’s case he choose to stay on in south Florida following the contraction of the Fusion. He now plays in a semi-professional league, and teaches the game to local youths.

Juan Carlos Osorio is an American trained but Manchester City honed manager. Osorio’s time at City provided him not only with exposure to one of the best footballing leagues in the world but to the type of tactical setup and awareness that he did not posses when he was an MLS assistant. Osorio has returned to MLS as one of the finest coaches from a pure tactical standpoint that the league has seen in sometime. More importantly, unlike some foreign managers that have been brought into MLS and do not understand the midset of American players, nor the difficulty of travel, altitude and other factors that make MLS much tougher than advertised, Osorio knows this league and its players.

Even outside MLS, Manchester City’s connections shine light in this corner of the globe. Recent hero of the club’s history Shaun Goater now manages the Bermuda Hogges of USL-2 and has helped professionalize the footballing setup in his native land to where Bermuda almost upset Trinidad and Tobago who participated in the 2006 World Cup last month in qualifying. Goater’s goal was to make Bermuda more of a force in CONCACAF and he is hoping the island nation can qualify for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. George Weah, former FIFA World Football of the Year, and Manchester City striker has moved to south Florida with his family to participate in an Under 40 professional league. Weah’s decision to relocate to south Florida was so momentous it made the front page of the local papers: not the front page of the sports section, the front page of the paper. Weah as he was throughout most of his career and in his recent run for Liberian President is a name that transcends football, and has in his own way the stardom that few international footballers have in the U.S.

What has made City a greater contributor to the growth of football in this part of the world in terms of exported players than let’s say cross town rival Manchester United? For starters City is club that has recently attracted a lot of foreign players from places that until recently did not necessarily export a great number of players to English Football: The USA, Costa Rica, Bermuda and Liberia the home nations of Reyna, Wanchope, Goater and Weah are either geographically or spiritually more connected to the United States than to England. (In the case of Bermuda, it was a British colony but of course is right off the coast of the US, which explains why Bermuda’s one professional team plays in a US league. Also I should not that Wanchope spent his teen years in the United States before returning to Costa Rica to pursue a career in football because MLS did not exist in those days) In addition, playing at City isn’t a walk in the park. The club has some of the most knowledgeable fans in England along with a very large supporter’s base. Experiences at Manchester City unlike those at some other European clubs harden players and coaches in a way that makes it possible for them to come to North America and have a unique impact on our footballing landscape.

cooke3 300x251 Manchester City and North America: The Strong Connection

Colorado Rapids midfielder Terry Cooke in his City days

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

22 Responses to Manchester City and North America: The Strong Connection

  1. GAGA says:

    I am an english city fan i am intrested to know where the article writer is from and why you chose city as your favourite international team (good choice) good article too.

  2. mike says:

    totally agree with first fan,s comments welsh city season card holder brilliant article

  3. Liverpool John says:

    Great piece.

    I'd prefer a strong red contingent in the US, but City is certainly preferable to United.

    DC could have signed Huckerby and moved Fred into the middle and Burch to the bench. But instead Soehn and Payne didn't bother.

    Sorry, I am still smarting from last night and DC taking a tournament we expected to win and probably placing last.

  4. Kartik says:

    I'm American but a long term city fan. How long term? Since City came here when I was a kid to battle the NASL Ft Lauderdale Strikers.

    I didn't really follow them until the early 1990s at the end of the first division, beginning of the Premier League.

    My favorite times in some ways were the late 1990s when we went down twice but found heroes like the goat, Kinzlakade, and many others. The Keegan years were good and bad and unlike many I don't despise Stuart Pearce as a manager but did feel he was out of his depth tactically.

    However, I will have to pour some rain on the City parade in mentioning as an American, Sven is now public enemy #1 for me since he is the Mexican National Team coach and has been at every Superliga match (our champions league in a sense) DC United has lost this tournament! So he's not only coaching the enemy but a bit of jinx towards one of our best clubs right now.

    The list of former United players who have come stateside read David Beckham, Terry Cooke who is more known for his time at City, and a number of former American reserve players: Kenny Cooper, John Thorrington and Jovan Kirovski. Ian Bishop in his time in MLS has a greater on the field impact than Beckham whose lack of pace and inability to really hold the ball is glaring in this league since he doesn't have as much cover to left or behind him. He's an above average MLS player and I am glad he's embraced our league but people are simply buying the hype if they believe he's the best player in the league or even the best player on the Galaxy.

    In other words I take great pride in the fact that our club has had a far greater impact on the game in my home country and region than the enemy ever will.

  5. GAGA says:

    I am an english city fan i am intrested to know where the article writer is from and why you chose city as your favourite international team (good choice) good article too.

  6. mike says:

    totally agree with first fan,s comments welsh city season card holder brilliant article

  7. J Harris says:

    The most interesting aspect of all these connections is that they keep coming.

    If you were to look at the City teams from 2001 thru 2003 eight of the players have come to play in the US and an assistant coach has come to coach as well.

    It's really an amazing connection which no other major English club can boast.

    This having been said it is strange that City doesn't have more of an American following.

  8. Liverpool John says:

    Great piece.

    I’d prefer a strong red contingent in the US, but City is certainly preferable to United.

    DC could have signed Huckerby and moved Fred into the middle and Burch to the bench. But instead Soehn and Payne didn’t bother.

    Sorry, I am still smarting from last night and DC taking a tournament we expected to win and probably placing last.

  9. Kartik says:

    I’m American but a long term city fan. How long term? Since City came here when I was a kid to battle the NASL Ft Lauderdale Strikers.

    I didn’t really follow them until the early 1990s at the end of the first division, beginning of the Premier League.

    My favorite times in some ways were the late 1990s when we went down twice but found heroes like the goat, Kinzlakade, and many others. The Keegan years were good and bad and unlike many I don’t despise Stuart Pearce as a manager but did feel he was out of his depth tactically.

    However, I will have to pour some rain on the City parade in mentioning as an American, Sven is now public enemy #1 for me since he is the Mexican National Team coach and has been at every Superliga match (our champions league in a sense) DC United has lost this tournament! So he’s not only coaching the enemy but a bit of jinx towards one of our best clubs right now.

    The list of former United players who have come stateside read David Beckham, Terry Cooke who is more known for his time at City, and a number of former American reserve players: Kenny Cooper, John Thorrington and Jovan Kirovski. Ian Bishop in his time in MLS has a greater on the field impact than Beckham whose lack of pace and inability to really hold the ball is glaring in this league since he doesn’t have as much cover to left or behind him. He’s an above average MLS player and I am glad he’s embraced our league but people are simply buying the hype if they believe he’s the best player in the league or even the best player on the Galaxy.

    In other words I take great pride in the fact that our club has had a far greater impact on the game in my home country and region than the enemy ever will.

  10. J Harris says:

    The most interesting aspect of all these connections is that they keep coming.

    If you were to look at the City teams from 2001 thru 2003 eight of the players have come to play in the US and an assistant coach has come to coach as well.

    It’s really an amazing connection which no other major English club can boast.

    This having been said it is strange that City doesn’t have more of an American following.

  11. Donny says:

    Good article. And FYI to all City fans in the US reading this. I am also American, and I run the only official supporters club in the US. We're set up as a New York club, but through our web forum we're trying to help City fan across the US get together and perhaps in the future create their own, local club branches. You don't have to join our club to participate in the forum and reach out to other fans. We'll even put up a board for your area in our forum, if it helps. Glad to see more of Sky Blues around the US too.

  12. Donny says:

    Good article. And FYI to all City fans in the US reading this. I am also American, and I run the only official supporters club in the US. We’re set up as a New York club, but through our web forum we’re trying to help City fan across the US get together and perhaps in the future create their own, local club branches. You don’t have to join our club to participate in the forum and reach out to other fans. We’ll even put up a board for your area in our forum, if it helps. Glad to see more of Sky Blues around the US too.

  13. Tudor says:

    I am the editor for Vital Manchester City, an English based website designed by the fans; for tthe fans.

    I liked the article so much I would like to add it to my site, then add a link back here. Would the author or copyright holder please get in touch.

    Cheers

    Man City fan, through and through.

  14. GAGA says:

    Well to all american city fans brilliant choice keep on advertising city as the best club in england over there because if we can break the american fan base we will surely rule the world and win everything going. I dont know if the uefa cup match is on over there tomorrow and i cant find any internet links which i normally do if available but i think you can get it at http://www.setanta.com but i think you will have to pay but worth it.

  15. Tudor says:

    I am the editor for Vital Manchester City, an English based website designed by the fans; for tthe fans.

    I liked the article so much I would like to add it to my site, then add a link back here. Would the author or copyright holder please get in touch.

    Cheers

    Man City fan, through and through.

  16. GAGA says:

    Well to all american city fans brilliant choice keep on advertising city as the best club in england over there because if we can break the american fan base we will surely rule the world and win everything going. I dont know if the uefa cup match is on over there tomorrow and i cant find any internet links which i normally do if available but i think you can get it at http://www.setanta.com but i think you will have to pay but worth it.

  17. GAGA says:

    just to confirm to american city fans the uefa cup game is on setanta sports 1 but i dont know if you get that channel although you can watch it via setanta broadband which is there internet channel i think it costs £7.99 0r about $16 that is for a month subscription so you should get the first prem game on august 16th too it kicks off 7pm english time not sure your time depends what part of usa you are in.

  18. GAGA says:

    tonights game is 7pm english time not the august 16th 1 i left it a little confusing

  19. GAGA says:

    just to confirm to american city fans the uefa cup game is on setanta sports 1 but i dont know if you get that channel although you can watch it via setanta broadband which is there internet channel i think it costs £7.99 0r about $16 that is for a month subscription so you should get the first prem game on august 16th too it kicks off 7pm english time not sure your time depends what part of usa you are in.

  20. GAGA says:

    tonights game is 7pm english time not the august 16th 1 i left it a little confusing

  21. Mooch says:

    Good win for City today.

    An even better article here.

    Any word on whether Huckerby, so anxious to cast TFC's turf as unplayable will show his face for his new side this week in Toronto?

  22. Mooch says:

    Good win for City today.

    An even better article here.

    Any word on whether Huckerby, so anxious to cast TFC’s turf as unplayable will show his face for his new side this week in Toronto?

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