MNT Aug 8, 2011
Coaches have long emphasized the value of international players playing important roles for their club teams, and there can be no bigger role than serving as team captain. Being given the honor of wearing the captain’s armband speaks to your character as much as your abilities on the field, and shows the confidence that the manager and the players have in your leadership ability.
As U.S. players have established themselves at teams at home and abroad, the level of respect they earn has grown as well. So much so that a review of the U.S. roster shows no less than five players who are currently captains at their clubs, and remarkably the majority are playing in Europe.
Having played his entire career at Hannover, it’s easy to see why Steve Cherundolo enters his second season as captain there. Carlos Bocanegra has plenty of experience in that role for the United States, and has now been handed the armband in only his second season at St. Etienne. Perhaps most impressive is Clarence Goodson, who moved to Danish powerhouse Brondby only eight months ago and is now the man leading his team out of the tunnel.
Here in the U.S., Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan has spent the last three years as their team leader, while Kyle Beckerman captained Real Salt Lake to their first MLS Cup championship in 2009, coincidentally against the Galaxy.
It’s also worth noting that two former U.S. captains are currently working with the group in Philadelphia, as both Thomas Dooley and Claudio Reyna wore the captain’s armband in a World Cup.