By Daniel Rubens
With almost every major European league finished for the season, most Americans playing overseas are done for the time being. Last week was the final hurrah for a handful of US internationals and hopefuls, though most were done before.
However, not all leagues in Europe break for the summer, and there are still some Americans in action on the continent, particularly in the Nordic countries.
Because of this, we are going to do something different in this space for the next few months. We’ll quickly run through any Americans we talk about during the regular season who had notable moments during the offseason, either in friendlies or for the national team. Then, we’ll head to Scandinavia and fly through the Americans playing — and the one coaching — in the Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish leagues. Away we go.
First, let’s touch on the Americans whose teams were in action this weekend, even if few played. Brad Guzan watched Aston Villa’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal from the bench, and Gedion Zelalem was unsurprisingly not involved for the Gunners.
Though he didn’t get much action during the Premier League season, DeAndre Yedlin seems likely to get a look during Tottenham’s (and the USMNT’s) summer schedule. That started with the right back playing all 180 minutes and impressing as Spurs won games in Malaysia and Australia. We’ll keep you updated on Yedlin’s progress.
Elsewhere, the U.S.’s young national sides have been busy. As the senior team prepares for friendlies with the Netherlands and Germany, both the U-20s and U-23s are currently participating in tournaments. At the Toulon Tournament in France, the U-23s have one win and two losses, losing to France 3-1, beating Holland by the same score, and falling to Costa Rica 2-1. Of the players we usually discuss, Stuttgart’s Jerome Kiesewetter and Bayern’s Julian Green have started all three games, with Kiesewetter scoring in the win over the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the U-20s have been had no such problems in New Zealand at the U-20 World Cup. After winning their opening game 2-1 over Myanmar on Saturday, they dispatched of the host country Monday night in style, winning 4-0. Two attackers on our list in particular have shined, as Utrecht’s Rubio Rubin notched a brace against New Zealand and Fulham’s Emerson Hyndman scored and captained the side in both matches. At the back, Cameron Carter-Vickers, a 17-year-old central defender who plays for Tottenham, has impressed with assured performances in defense while causing havoc on set pieces.
Now, let’s head back to Europe and discuss the Americans in the Scandinavian leagues. Because of the harsh winters in Northern Europe, Norway’s Tippeligaen, Finland’s Veikkausliiga, and Sweden’s Allsvenskan begin play each season in the spring and end in the fall. As leagues that aren’t quite on Europe’s secondary tier, these ones don’t get much attention, but they do provide a good chance for young players from abroad to try to get minutes in a European team.
As such, there are numerous Americans playing in these leagues. Two play in Sweden, though neither Heath Pearce of Goteborg nor Matt Pyzdrowski of Helsingborgs has featured in the league this season.
However, numerous Yanks are making an impact in Norway, and it starts with a name familiar to American soccer fans. In case you were wondering whatever happened to former national team coach Bob Bradley, he’s doing just fine, with his Stabaek side stifling the Tippeligaen at the moment. With American midfielder Cole Grossman playing consistently for Bradley, Stabaek has started the season in terrific form, winning seven of their first 11 games — and conceding just nine goals — to jump into second place in the league. Their fine run of form continued with a 1-0 win over Sarpsborg last weekend in which American keeper Quentin Westberg manned the net for the losing side.
Elsewhere, midfielder Danny Cruz scored and assisted to lead his and fellow countryman Zarek Valentin’s Bodo/Glimt side to a 5-1 win over Mjondalen. Valentin played 90 minutes, as did Mjondalen’s American defender Rhett Bernstein, but Cruz and his attacking teammates were too much for Mjondalen. Two other American defenders in Norway played for their sides this weekend as well, with A.J. Soares’ Viking losing 4-3 to Valerenga and Alex De John’s Start getting a 2-0 win over Haugesund.
In Finland, just one of the four Americans currently in the league played. Midfielder Jordan Seabrook went the distance for VPS, but the last-place side continued its struggles with a loss to RoPS. Brian Span and third-place Mariehamn were off, while Freddy Adu was a substitute and Stephen McCarthy watched from the stands as KuPS drew 1-1 at HJK.
And there you have it. Until the beginning of next season, this is the format and the focus for this section. When the big European leagues return to action, we’ll revert back to our previous way of doing this page, but why not give the little guys some spotlight in the meantime?