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Gooch Signs With Milan: Reaction (Updated)


The impact of this signing cannot over emphasized. For years and years top European clubs have shown no interest in American field players. Most European oriented American fans (eurosnobs as they are often called) have laughed off any suggestion of an American field player playing for a top European side.

Additionally, after past impressive performances on the world stage the type of clubs that have lined up for American players have not been AC Milan or Real Madrid. They have been the likes of Preston North End, FC Nuremberg, 1860 Munich and Racing Ferrol.

For years American field players have toiled in obscurity or have been the subject of skepticism bordering on ridicule from the European press. Alexi Lalas had a successful stint at Padova but we hear more about his musical tastes than his football in the Italian media. Claudio Reyna was successful in Germany, Scotland and England but we the rap on him was that he got injured too much and didn’t excel at top of the table clubs in big leagues. (Rangers and the SPL  in 1999 however, was different than Rangers and the SPL in 2009, I’d remind those who’ve written the post mortem on Reyna’s European club career.)

Often times when forced to name an American field player of impact in Europe, the discussion reverts to John Harkes and his successful English career of the early 1990s. Seemingly ignored are the contributions Jovan Kirovski, Frankie Hejduk, DaMarcus Beasley and John O’Brien made while playing in Champions League matches.

But none of the players I mentioned ever got a sniff at a club as big as AC Milan. Oguchi Onyewu is truly a trailblazer for American players abroad.

Don’t let skeptics tell you this isn’t a big deal. This is a huge day for an American soccer. So huge, that this longtime supporter of the program is shedding tears of joy.


  • As reported on this site almost two months ago American midfielder Anton Peterlin of the Ventura County Fusion has been sold to Everton. A USL source confirms for me that the California club will receive some sort of compensation for the player.
  • Yura Movisisyan, whom I interviewed last year for CSRN’s American Soccer Show will be moving to Randers FC of Denmark in January. Randers is the former club of Lee Nguyen who starred for the US at the U-20 level and was on the 2007 Copa America squad.
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    July 8, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Hopefully he’ll flop at Milan like he did at Newcastle so they bench his ass and he’ll be crap for the world cup. A country where soccer is the fourth(?) most popular sport after football, basketball and baseball should never win the world cup. It would be a disgrace

  2. Juan-John

    July 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I stand corrected. They now have something up:

  3. Juan-John

    July 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    What truly amazes me (and might also be indicative of soccer’s place in the USA) is that 24 hours after the news first broke, does Gooch’s alma mater have ANYTHING on its athletics Web site about the signing of an alum to one of the most prestigious soccer teams IN THE WORLD? As of 1350 EST Wednesday, nope.

    Any Clemson alums out there (and I’m not one) should feel free to bug your alma mater’s AD incessantly until they post something.

  4. soccer goals

    July 7, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Great news

  5. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Brus, What in the world are you talking about…What is wrong with somebody liking a club in europe…absoutley nothing. It kills me to watch MLS anyhow…i watched LA and New England the other night and it bought drove me crazy because they suck so bad neither team could keep posession of the ball for longer than a freakin minute and this wasnt a possesion war that was interesting or worth watching either….I might like a MLS team if there were better talent here. US the fans can not just simply say bring good players here..i believe the club has to do that…and i dont think the clubs here in america have enough money to buy a freakin Ronaldo or a Kaka…so thats that lol…unless players decide to take a pay cut and the transfer fee is brought down or the players come on loan. I do like the idea one of the Barcalona players had thought about coming to the USA to play. i dont remember the guys name but it was exciting to think he would or maybe make a move to come play here in the USA but one guy just wont do it…

  6. eplnfl

    July 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Really just so happy for all involved. Onyewu, the USMNT, the USSF, and American fans have something to be proud of. Our team took on the worlds best in South Africa and Onyewu and others showed themselves to be world class. There can be no denying American talent now. For whatever reason US talent was held back in Europe. I say the barrier is broken. The effects for American soccer will be long lasting.

    I can only hope that we see more signings in the near future with the likes of Altidore, Dempsey, and Donovan, etc. putting their names on big dollar contracts and being brought in to play not sit on the bench . American’s can play soccer at any level and in any country. The coach that keeps young American talent on the bench is a fool. A good day for the RED, WHITE, and BLUE.

  7. Brus

    July 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    John H – Eurosnobs like you are your imaginary friends are what kills American soccer. A bunch of American thinking that supporting a foreign club makes them special. It’s living a lie and un-American.

    Until America and its fans stop acting inferior to Europe, than the majority of American sport fans will never take soccer seriously and only see it as a foreign sport.

    Colin Cowherd of ESPN is right. You want soccer to be popular in America? Make MLS one of the best leagues in the world. We are a nation of leagues. 80,000 showed up to see Ronaldo at Madrid. Wouldn’t that be great if it happened one day in America? That should be our goal. Not a bunch of America running around Europe in places where the average American can’t even find on a map.

  8. US soccer by inches and injury

    July 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    i think Gooch can and will rise to the occasion. We’ve not seen his best yet. Serie A is about the antithesis of MLS/US play or, put another way, the perfect complement. Mastering the Italian way of football could make Gooch an absolutely world class player. We’ll hope and have faith, yes?

    For their money AC Milan get a player who, I believe, can out jump any soccer player in the world in height. Lets hope Gooch does much more for them than rule the air.

  9. nick

    July 7, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    hey lee Neygen … plays in viatnam somewhere… he left randers last year

  10. BayVol

    July 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    With a nice gold pen of course 😉

  11. Soccer Jerseys

    July 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    How does AC Milan sign a defender without a left foot and a average marking back?

  12. wllmhll

    July 7, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    amazing move. hopefully he gets to play more often than not.

  13. Brian

    July 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hmmm, Cleo in Aldershot made a comment to me on Facebook indicating that she thought that Gooch had a good loan spell at Newcastle United. Interesting the perspective she has there in England compared to some here in the US.

  14. Pat

    July 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    “Sure, there are a lot of ways for this to go wrong, but that doesn’t mean we should write this huge transfer off as a bad thing. I think we have to assume that Milan signs players to play, not to sit on the bench.”

    I think it’s easier to say that when they’ve paid a transfer fee. When he comes in on a free, they can take a flier, and if he has one bad preseason game, bury him deep on the bench.

    But, there’s no need for negativity at this point. It’s a great signing for Gooch, and hopefully he gets an opporunity and takes advantage of it.

  15. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Jo In Indy you you have my permission..i must say your idiot though hahahaa…but whatever…your have your easons to think this…but i really cant figure out why you would say this…there is nothing he has done that is bad hahahaha. but w/e

  16. erp

    July 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Sure, there are a lot of ways for this to go wrong, but that doesn’t mean we should write this huge transfer off as a bad thing. I think we have to assume that Milan signs players to play, not to sit on the bench. And if he does get benched, at least he got a taste of world class football and had a chance to train with some of the world’s best.

    Think about what you would do if you were in Gooch’s position. Would you turn down an opportunity like this?

  17. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Quakes, you could be right. I think it is massive because it shows the respect we are now winning. But it could be a bad move in the long term if he doesn’t play.

  18. quakesin2kNever

    July 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I think this is a bad move. I think he is just gonna get benched and struggle for playing time and then show up rusty for the world cup next summer ala freddy adu and damarcus beasely. I am very nervous about this. Sure it’s great for all the symbolic reasons but practically speaking it was a bad decision. He should have gone to a mid table club like udinese or palermo or lazio, not a champions league club.

  19. Ryan

    July 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Any idea when he gets with the team, and whether or not he’ll be playing in the summer friendlies in the US (preferably the one vs America in Atlanta on 7.22)?

  20. Joe in Indianapolis

    July 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    @Chris: Just because he’s good doesn’t mean I’m behind him. I watched almost every game he played in with Milan. He’s a fantastic player. And I personally think he’s a shmuck. Do I have your permission, Chris?

  21. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Joe In Indy, what in the hell are you talking about…you obviously havent been watching AC Milan. Beckham fit right in there and it helped his career in playing for England. The Team flowed nicley with him there, i hope he will stay out of MLS and stay in Milan. hes to good for the MLS anyhow. he dont need american soccer fans bashing him for making a move to save his career. if american soccer fans dont have enough for respect for that…then they obviously dont need a guy like beckham playing here in the USA and giving people the chance to see a guy that is worth seeing thats in the MLS

  22. Potomitan

    July 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Great news for MLS. I wish Gooch great success in Milan. He deserves to showcase his talent at a top level and Milan gives him that opportunity.

  23. Joe Ginto

    July 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Should read “and NOT be impressed”… sorry!

  24. Joe Ginto

    July 7, 2009 at 11:31 am

    At times, I’ve been extremely critical of Landon. However, you cannot objectively look at what he’s done for the past 18 months and be impressed with him…including his “flop” at Bayern…and by flop, of course, I mean playing really well for a club that is surely one of the top 10 or top 15 clubs in the world.

    Today is Gooch’s day, however. My favorite U.S. player goes to my favorite league. Wow. It’s all on Gooch now. Here’s hoping he earns some playing time. The opportunity to defend week-in week-out against the likes of Antonio Cassano, Fabio Quagliarella, Alberto Gilardino, Ibra, et al is priceless. Wouldn’t it be great to see an American in the starting XI in a key Champions League match? Wow. Just wow.

  25. Joe in Indianapolis

    July 7, 2009 at 11:21 am

    This is huge for AC Milan. I know they aren’t hurting for fan support, but they just picked up a hell of a lot of American followers because of this. Let’s hope Beckham permanently leaves so I don’t have to root for that schmuck as a byproduct of Gooch being on the team.

  26. Ryan

    July 7, 2009 at 11:15 am


    Also, lots of overstating in these comments as to Landon “flopping” at Bayern. It’s a situation where he had to compete against Klose, Toni, and a recently signed older player in Olic. Had Landon been a little younger, or had Olic not been signed mere months earlier, Landon is playing in Munich right now. They can’t spend two spots on late-20’s backup forwards though.

    That doesn’t make him a flop. Dude balled out for 6 weeks. 4 goals in 5 friendlies is pretty nice.

  27. Berlin

    July 7, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Great news. No pressure. Just the future of American football on one player (okay, that’s a bit much). Wish him all the best.

    Re Peterlin, Kartik did a piece awhile back on this site:

  28. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 10:46 am

    One thing i have to say to some of my fellow Milan fans in Milan yall suck. Did you guys forget that Kaka wanted to leave anyway. It wasnt all of Milans decision to sell Kaka..we dont need the guy to win games. Its better off he is leaving. He is getting older and Pato needs to play more and in my opinon Pato can be everything Kaka wasnt. But now on to this amazing news…good lord im am glad they signed him…I would prefer him to play in Maldini’s place insted of Thiago Silva. Gooch is big and can handle anything…he handled the Brazilian’s attacks and the Spainards attacks. He will be able to handle himself in the Serie A…i just hope they really put him in the starting 11…I dont see why they wouldnt after watching him in the Confedrations cup. I would feel comfortable putting Gooch in the starting 11 and playing. Milan spent some money worth spending. You dont have to get a big name player to get a good player. this is a good day for american football. Hopefully this will be a breakthrough for americans in coming to Milan…it sure was for Brasilians…Milan is the place alot of Brasilian players come to because of Leonardo…so lets hope gooch opens the way for american players.

  29. LS

    July 7, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I agree that it’s unfair to say Onyewu flopped at Newcastle. That backline has never been stable or settled enough for anyone to excel. Another solid international, David Rozenhal, also “flopped” in that environment.

    On an unrelated note, there was another American signed on Monday:

    Anyone heard of this guy ??

  30. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 7, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Paul, I think it is unfair to say Gooch flopped in the EPL. He was with a dysfunctional Newcastle team paired with Titus Bramble at the back. When an English or Continental player flops at Newcastle it’s because of the club but when it’s an American, it must be because of him. Not accusing you of this bias, but some have echoed this saying “Onyewu sucked at Newcastle, but poor XXXX was stuck at Newcastle.”

    I dare any EPL fan to find the game at the level of that Spain game where Rio Ferdinand or John Terry had a comparable amazing performance. A 10 out of 10 is a rare feat in international knock out football but that is what Gooch earned that day.

  31. Paul

    July 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Gooch flopped in EPL…maybe he will do better in Serie A where its slower…but if anytihng i thought Milan bought em as a cheap stand in…of course if he’d do well then they got themselves a bargain then

  32. Brian

    July 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Milan’s fans have been expressing great displeasure with their club. Milan’s supporters have not been all that please with the club selling Kaka to Real Madrid, and the fact that Adriano Galliani was indicating that Milan was going to wait until August to make any signings really angered the fans. To be honest, Galliani is smart in waiting because Real Madrid’s buying spree has resulted in increasing the amount clubs are seeking for transfer fees, those amounts should decrease by August. But, fans are fans, especially in Italy and they don’t like seeing their club sitting quietly on the sideline during the transfer window.

    Today’s signing of Gooch is an effort to appease the Milan fans, but a smart move by Milan. Gooch as played well at Standard Liege, which won their league, and looked good in the Confederations Cup. Gooch will be filling the big shoes left by the retirement of Maldini.

    Now, I doubt this signing will do much to appease the fans who want a big name signing, but it might just keep fan anger from growing more. I suspect Gooch will get some playing time at Milan, he’s been around Europe long enough that he’s earned playing time especially considering his recent form. I’m sure FSC will be airing as many Milan matches as possible next season.

  33. kyle

    July 7, 2009 at 9:37 am

    This is one of the most important things to happen to us soccer.

  34. John H

    July 7, 2009 at 9:25 am

    This came out of nowhere.

    His performance against Spain was amazing. He’s been let down before with Chelsea and Milan rumors.

    This is a big day for American soccer, but he must do well there to open the door for more Americans in Europe at big clubs. The failure of Landon Donovan at Bayer and Bayern did the opposite and did a lot of damage. But on this jingoistic site written by Kartik who calls anyone who is American like some of my friends but either chooses not to root for the US or doesn’t like MLS or USL a “eurosnob,” Donovan is hailed as some sort of hero. “He’s the best” we hear on the podcasts, and we see headlines like “simply the best.”

    If that is our poster child we’ll never get beyond first base in baseball terms. Thankfully Gooch has taken the torch and now some of my friends may take us more seriously because I doubt he flops like Landy Cakes did.

  35. Dave

    July 7, 2009 at 9:21 am

    wow, i can’t believe what i’m hearing. great news for US soccer and of course gooch. here’s to him doing well in italy, cheers.

  36. Ian

    July 7, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Agreed- a big day!

    Racing Ferrol? LOL, forgot about that one. How about Birmingham City swooping for Berhalter after he was good in the World Cup 2002? That was another insulting one.

    A great day. GO GOOCH!

  37. Tom

    July 7, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Really surprising…But don’t forget it’s only earlier this year a top European team did show interest in an American field player, Landon just didn’t do well enough to earn a permanent transfer.

    Anyway, good for Gooch and hope it goes well for him. He’s been underrated for a while in Europe based on a very difficult spell in England.

  38. Larry

    July 7, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Is this official????????


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