BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, February 17, 2011
Once labeled as one of the top prospects in American soccer just four years ago, Danny Szetela has seen his career disappear and completely fall out of the game.
Rumors of parties and off field distractions have left the once promising midfielder without a club at just 23 years old.
Things have clearly not gotten any better for the New Jersey native as last Friday he and his two brothers were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for a fight outside a bar in Boonton, NJ.
Szetela burst onto the scene in 2004 when he signed with MLS at 17 where weighted lottery determined he would play for the Columbus Crew. That year he was the Parade Magazine High School player of the year and was a standout for the U-17 national team at the 2003 U-17 World Cup in Finland.
In 2007, he was a crucial part of the US U-20 World Cup team that would advance to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Canada. He scored two goals and put on a series of dominate performances.
His success with the U-20s saw him earn senior team call-ups under US head coach Bob Bradley. In his first cap in a friendly against Switzerland in 2007, he assisted on Michael Bradley's game winning goal.
Later that year he would also play for the US in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago and then in 2008, he was part of the Olympic team.
However during this span his club career began to slowly erode.
In 2007, Szetela left MLS for Spain where he signed with Racing Santander but struggled for playing time. He was then loaned to Brescia in Italy's Serie B and started well but gradually fell out of favor.
Szetela then left Europe to return to MLS in 2009 but struggled to find playing time again and rumors of off-field parties and distractions gradually surfaced. He was released by DC United in March 2010 and has since not been able to pick up a club.