The U.S. Soccer Podcast – Episode 32: Former USMNT and Ajax Midfielder John O’Brien

Nearly a year on from the launch of the U.S. Soccer Podcasts, Charlie Davies and Jordan Angeli have found it telling how often former U.S. Men’s National Team alumni would tell them the best they ever played with was John O’Brien.

So, we brought him on the podcast!

A talented young U.S. player in a time before an academy setup existed here, O’Brien explained his decision to venture to the Netherlands to sign with famed Dutch side Ajax at age 17. Once there he rose through the ranks of the youth teams to become a starter in the UEFA Champions League, win two Eredivisie titles and a Dutch Cup.

He also reflected on his eight years representing the USMNT, including his integral role in the team’s run to the quarterfinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as the U-23’s fourth place finish at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Reflecting back on his international career, the talented midfielder discussed his favorite memory – a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Oct. 7, 2001 in Foxborough. He vividly remembered the USMNT being the first National Team in any sport to represent the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, and recalled how the team learned of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan just hours before kickoff of the match that would see the team qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

Despite his many accomplishments, O’Brien’s career was riddled by injuries and he retired following the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After leaving the game he went to school and recently earned his doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology.


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Episode No.             



Ep. 31 USMNT Defender Mark McKenzie February 26
Ep. 30 USMNT Legend DaMarcus Beasley February 12
Ep. 29

USWNT Defender Midge Purce

January 29
Ep. 28 U-23 USMNT Head Coach Jason Kreis January 16
EP. 27

U.S. Disability Soccer Month with Drew Bremer and Josh Brunais

December 11
EP. 24 The U.S. Soccer Podcast - EPISODE 24: Gregg Berhalter November 20
Ep. 23 The U.S. Soccer Podcast - EPISODE 23: Stuart Holden November 12
Ep. 22 USWNT Coach Vlatko Andonovski October 30
Ep. 21  The U.S. Soccer Podcast - EPISODE 21: Maurice Edu October 23
Ep. 20 USMNT and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen October 16
Ep. 19 Former USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis October 9
Ep. 18 Former USWNT Defender Stephanie Cox October 2
Ep. 17 Former USMNT Defender Marcelo Balboa September 18
Ep. 16 Former USMNT Defender Oguchi Onyewu September 11
Ep. 15 Former USWNT midfielder Shannon Boxx August 28
Ep. 14 USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter August 21
Ep. 13 USMNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard August 14
Ep. 12 Former USWNT Forward Mia Hamm July 31

Ep. 11

Former USMNT Defender Tony Sanneh

July 24

Ep. 10

USWNT Midfielder Sam Mewis

July 17

Ep. 9

Former USMNT Midfielder Robbie Rogers

July 3

Ep. 8

Former USWNT Midfielder Lori Lindsey

June 26

Ep. 7

U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart

June 19

Ep. 6

Virtual Roundtable on Racism with Crystal Dunn, Cobi Jones, Jessica McDonald and Zack Steffen

June 12

Ep. 5

U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Chiampas

June 5

Ep. 4

USMNT Midfielder Tyler Adams

May 29

Ep. 3

FIFA Referee Katja Koroleva

May 22

Ep. 2

USMNT General Manager Brian McBride

May 15

Ep. 1

USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf

May 8

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