MNT in Europe: 2007-08 Review
The group of MNT pool players who are on the books of European teams is continually growing. As exemplified by Bob Bradley's roster of players for the May 28 game against England at Wembley, today's U.S. team boasts professionals who are searching increasingly farther and wider for the opportunities afforded by playing abroad.
For all the players currently in MNT camp, the 2007-08 season in Europe is finished. Between the 15 players that played in seven different leagues, there were varying degrees of success. What follows is a brief recap of how the players fared:
In England, Tim Howard had an excellent year for Everton, appearing in 36 Premier League matches as his club finished in fifth spot in the table to secure automatic qualification for next season's UEFA Cup. Jonathan Spector made 26 appearances in Alan Curbishley's defense for 10th placed West Ham United.
Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Eddie Johnson helped Fulham avoid relegation in a thrilling fight against the drop that culminated in a final day victory against Portsmouth. Dempsey finished the season as Fulham's top scorer in the Premier League with six goals to his name. Eddie Lewis and Derby County were not so fortunate, however, and were eventually relegated to the Championship. Lewis made 26 appearances for his club in 2007-08.
In the Championship, Jay DeMerit and his club Watford fell just short in their charge for promotion, succumbing to eventual playoff champions Hull in the first round of the postseason.
Oguchi Onyewu marshaled a Standard Liege defense that kept 19 clean sheets en route to a first league title in 25 years for the Belgian club. In Germany, Steve Cherundolo completed another solid year for Hannover 96, making 30 starting appearences in what has become his customary role at right back for the club. Hansa Rostock and Heath Pearce were unable to keep their place in the Bundesliga, having been promoted just the year before. Josh Wolff's contract is now up at 1860 Munich, but the forward made 25 appearances for his club over the course of the season in the second Bundesliga. (Listen to Josh Wolff talk about his time in Germany)
Michael Bradley turned in one of the most prolific European seasons ever for an U.S. international, scoring 20 goals in all competitions for UEFA Cup-bound Heerenveen. Bradley scored 16 Eredivisie goals from midfield, helping his side to a fifth-place finish in the table.
Freddy Adu was part of a tumultuous season at Benfica - the Portuguese Club went through three managers since Adu's arrival last July. Adu scored twice in 11 league appearances, and scored three times in domestic cup ties for Benfica.
In Denmark, Danny Califf was part of an AaB team that became champions of the Danish SAS-Ligaen. Califf captained the championship winning side and made 40 appearances for AaB in all competitions.
Nate Jaqua enjoyed a productive few months in Austria. The forward signed a short term contract for SCR Altach in February and made an instant impact in the Austrian league, scoring two goals in his first two games. Jaqua finished the season with five goals in 13 appearances. (Read about Jaqua’s experience in Austria)