Sweden to Scotland: A Q & A with U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Alejandro Bedoya
Alejandro Bedoya is on the move. After one of the standout performances for the U.S. at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Scottish Premier League giants Rangers came calling for the services of the 24-year-old from Weston, Fla. After eight goals in 65 appearances for Örebro, Bedoya heads to Glasgow with gratitude for his club in Sweden and excitement at the prospect of winning trophies and competing against Europe’s best.
ussoccer.com: Tell us about how the deal with Rangers came about.
Alejandro Bedoya: “After the Gold Cup, there had been interest from a few teams. Rangers showed the most interest, and it took off from there. They weren’t able to work out a transfer initially. I got injured, and during that time I thought about my future. Having spoken with my family and with the manager at Rangers, it became clear to me that this would be a good next step in my career, so I signed a pre-contract that would have sent me there in January. The talks heated up again about a transfer, and Örebro agreed to a fee, which was good for them as well.”
ussoccer.com: What are the emotions of leaving Örebro? Clearly it’s a place where you were able to improve as a player, and ultimately helped you get to the national team?
AB: “I’m thankful to Örebro for giving me a chance and allowing me to develop. The fans were always incredibly supportive as well. Like any player, you want to further your career. Rangers is a well-respected club with a lot of history and a winning tradition. Hopefully going to Glasgow gives me the ability to compete on a big stage in Europe, but also gives me the pressure of trying to win something every year.”
ussoccer.com: Had you spoken with Maurice Edu or DaMarcus Beasley about going to Rangers?
AB: “I spoke to Mo the most. The interest from Rangers had been going on for a while, and Mo and I would correspond through text messages. I would ask a lot of questions. I talked to Beas a little bit, and through my agent I was able to speak with Claudio Reyna. Obviously he is a well-respected player and someone I looked up to, and he was a key player for Rangers. He had nothing but positive things to say. If I can be half of what Claudio was at Rangers, it will be a success.
ussoccer.com: Was there something specific that finally made you settle on the move to Rangers?
AB: “Ultimately at any club your confidence comes from the manager. Being able to talk to him and seeing the interest that they showed really made me feel like they were keen to get me there.”
ussoccer.com: And on the same day that you sign, you find out that your U.S. teammate Carlos Bocanegra is signing as well …
AB: “Talk about craziness! You hear rumors, and I remember when Carlos signed I was on the computer and saw the news. I congratulated him, and I spoke with Mo about it. Having three Americans there will make the transition easier. Carlos is the captain of the national team and is a leader, and there’s still a lot to learn from him. Hopefully this will be good for the club as well.”
ussoccer.com: What has your life been like since the transfer?
AB: “Pretty hectic, to tell you the truth. I’ve been packing up my apartment and dealing with moving, and at the same time trying to get over to Rangers as soon as possible. The club has been working hard to help with the visa process, which has taken a lot longer than it was estimated. Hopefully it comes through tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. I just want to get over there and start training and meet the players. I’m excited to get going as soon as possible.”
ussoccer.com: Has there been a lot of reaction from the Rangers supporters?
AB: “Yeah, mostly from Twitter. The support has been amazing. I’ve been inundated with messages from Rangers fans around the world, which only gives me more confidence going in.”
ussoccer.com: There’s been a change in the national team as well. What was your reaction?
AB: “Like everybody else it came as a shock. I was sad to see Bob go, and now you have to move forward. Jurgen comes in with a new sense of energy. Hopefully I can earn a regular spot at Rangers and show Jurgen that I have what it takes.”
ussoccer.com: How much do you know about Glasgow?
AB: A little bit. I’ve been reading about the history of the club. I hadn’t been there before the day I went to sign the contract, so it’s all new.”
ussoccer.com: Have you seen a Rangers-Celtic game?
AB: “I’ve only seen the Old Firm derby on TV. You get an idea of what it’s like, but you can never know until you experience it. That’s definitely one of the things I’m most looking forward to. And I’m not wearing green! Those cleats that I wore in the Gold Cup are long gone. I now have white and blue ones, which are perfect for Rangers.