The news that Wolves and U.S. national team keeper Marcus Hahnemann is open to retuning to MLS in 2011 got me thinking about other Americans abroad. As the MLS has matured in a good and competitive soccer league, it is no longer absurd to think a world-class player could play in MLS. This is true of younger players who are the future of the USMNT and may want to be close to the coaching staff to increase their chances of making the squad. And, as we have seen with some of the designated player signings, MLS is a good location for older players who may want to market themselves or play in the U.S. For Americans, it is a chance to return home and play in front of family and friends.
With that in mind, here are five Americans I want to see return to MLS in the near future, either to further their development or to spend the rest of their career. I tried to be realistic with this list and not include those players who obviously are benefiting from playing overseas, so you will not see a Tim Howard or Michael Bradley below. But who did I miss or do you disagree with my selections? Sound off in the comments.
I will admit I am firmly pro-Adu. His time in MLS was marred with unrealistic expectations, and his time overseas has seen him bounce from club to club. He is still on the national team radar, however, and there is a slight chance he could get the call up for the South Africa friendly. To be honest, I think the level of play in MLS has exceeded that of Aris (his current club), but the stumbling block may be his price tag. He is making decent money overseas, but I hope he considers a return stateside to be closer to the USMNT coaching staff.
Sort of an obvious choice, I look forward to a possible return by the keeper. Even at 38, he is a top notch keeper and would be a good edition to a West Coast club, where he could be close to his Washington home. And, even though Tim Howard is the #1 keeper, he still has a chance at taking over the top spot if Howard is injured or through poor play. Vancouver currently has Jay Nolly penciled in as their starter, so there is an opportunity there.
While he has only been gone from MLS for a season, the US men’s national team starter excelled for Puebla, tying for the lead in goals scored and setting the record for most goals scored by an American. His MLS career was filled with bad coaching matches and untimely injuries, but I would still like to see him maybe play for a Chivas and provide them with some star power.
This is an obvious one. Jay DeMerit is looking for a job, and the prospects of a top-flight European league are slim. He is a former MLS prospect, has international club experience, and played in the most recent World Cup. What’s the downside here? Someone who needs a defender should come in and swipe him up as soon as January rolls around.
The defender was a member of his boyhood club the New England Revolution before he departed in 2008 for Denmark. MLS should make an attempt to woo him back after his three year deal expires. He was quality when he played in the states, and if he wants to be a fixture in the USMNT lineup playing in front of Bob Bradley can only help.