JON VAN WAGENEN - Tuesday, November 17, 2009
After a strong first season at Írebro where he claimed a starting spot in midseason, Alejandro Bedoya looks to be setting himself up to follow the lead of close friend Charlie Davies by launching a long and promising career from the Swedish Allsvenskan.
In total, Bedoya played in 25 matches, started 13 and scored two goals on the campaign. However the Florida native readily admits that acclimating to the Swedish game was not easy.
"I was really pleased with my development starting from the very first practice," the 22 year-old recently said to YA. "There was a big learning curve. When I scored the two goals [against Hacken], it gave me alot of confidence. It let me know that I could do this. Having that confidence helped me establish myself as a starter especially knowing that I earned it and that it didn't happen because of an injury or suspension."
After waiting in the wings for the first half of the season, the strong showing against Hacken made Bedoya a regular starter.
"It was just having patience and being mentally strong. I was always working hard and dedicating myself to getting better," he added.
Despite his personal success, Bedoya's team had a late season slump that knocked them out of contention for a Europa league qualification spot.
"We had some injuries and some lineup changes which I think caused us to lose our focus. I think we lost our connection on the field and some momentum because of the lineup changes," noted Bedoya. "But that's what separates the great teams from the others. You have to be able to overcome things like that."
As for next season, the former Boston College standout is bullish on their chances of earning a European spot.
"I think we have a great core of guys here that can be built on. Our goal is to get a European berth next season," he optimistically said.
That core includes a up-and-coming 19 year-old midfielder Markus Astvald, who was recently re-signed by the club, but may exclude Finnish midfielder Roni Porokara who has been rumored to be leaving for Maccabai Tel-Aviv.
"It is great that Astvald got extended," continued Bedoya. "He has really established himself in this league. Me and Roni are really close friends, so if he leaves, we would need someone to fill his spot at left midfielder. Also maybe a defensive midfielder and a defender to provide some more competition."
As for the US national team, Bedoya, who trained with the 2008 Olympics Under-23 team, may need another strong season or two to get on the roster but still holds out hope that one day he will be able to wear the Red, White and Blue on the international stage.
"I haven't heard anything from USSF. I know that the only time Bob [Bradley] saw me play was when we played Hammarby at the beginning of the year when Charlie [Davies] was with them so obviously he was there to see him. I just played a couple minutes in that game. Certainly I hope to one day be able to represent my country and play for the national team. It's always been a dream of mine."
The news that his close friend and fellow BC Eagle had been involved in a fatal car accident last month was a shock to Bedoya. With Davies out of the hospital now, Bedoya remarked on speculation that Davies could beat doctor's projections and return to the US lineup for the World Cup. "He's a strong-willed and strong-minded guy. If anyone could do it, it's Charlie."
Bedoya is currently enjoying some much-deserved R & R in the US, but due to the extended break in the Allsvenskan next summer because of the World Cup, he is resigned to the fact that he will not have too long to soak up the sun in South Florida before returning to the cold of Scandinavia for preseason training.
"I head back to Sweden on November 30th so it's a really short offseason. I go back for training for a couple weeks, then I'm back in the US for the holidays and then back to Europe for preseason. Our season starts in March this year so they wants us back in January to get ready," concluded Bedoya.