JAMIE HILL - Thursday, November 11, 2010
The four Swedish-based Yanks will begin their well-deserved offseason breaks after another season officially entered the books last weekend.
Alejandro Bedoya, the most well-known American in the Allsvenskan, built on his strong rookie year with an even better sophomore season. The former Boston College man led Írebro SK to a third place finish and a ticket to European play for the first time since 1997-98.
Although US national team fans may remember Bedoya as a line-hugging outside midfielder in his appearances for the Red, White, and Blue, he typically lines up in a more central position for his club.
Bedoya would be mistaken to confidently assume that he will have a leisurely winter break as the 23-year-old could soon find himself on international duty.
Furthermore, two strong years in Sweden have given rise to a plethora of transfer rumors. While he remains under contract with Írebro and may stay with them, a transfer to a bigger club should surprise nobody.
The Allsvenskan showcased another Yank, too. Halmstad's Ryan Miller was a fixture at fullback for large majority of the season.
Halmstad did not enjoy great success in 2010, flirting with relegation for most of the season. Despite their struggles, the club safely avoided the relegation playoff by six points when all was said and done.
It was the strongest season yet from Miller, who had bounced around MLS with Columbus and DC United but failed to gain any traction. Released by DC United, he found a taker in mid-2009 with Ljungskile SK in Sweden's second tier. A quality half-season convinced Halmstad to snap him up in the offseason.
Sweden's second division, the Superettan, also featured two Americans.
Former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Nick Noble joined Ljungskile over the offseason and immediately assumed a starting role. By the end of the campaign, Noble racked up 13 shutouts as his club managed a respectable sixth place finish.
For several years now, Ljungskile has been a haven for Yanks including Etchu Tabe, Colin Burns, Sam Brill, Miller, and Noble. In mid-July, the club added another American to their collection when they signed Michael Thomas.
Drafted by San Jose, the midfielder opted instead to sign for Halmstad BK on a short-term contract. He saw just five games in the first four months of the season and was let go upon the expiration of his deal.
However, a move to Ljungskile reinvigorated his season as he became a fixture in the starting lineup, netting two goals.
Swedish soccer will spring back into action in March 2011.