BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, January 13, 2010
As the US national team begins its annual winter camp this January, one of the many players who will be looking to make a solid international debut is Írebro midfielder, Alejandro Bedoya.
A native of Weston, Florida, Bedoya is coming off his first professional season after a strong NCAA career with Boston College and Farleigh Dickenson University where he was twice nominated for the Hermann Trophy as the nation's top college player.
Last January, Bedoya turned professional signed with Írebro SK of Sweden's top division, the Allsvenskan. In just his first season with Írebro, he has already become a regular with his club. Bedoya says the transition from the NCAA to Europe was challenging but rewarding.
"It's a big difference. Obviously it's rewarding to become a professional soccer player. It's something you've always dreamed of when I was little," Bedoya told YA. "It feels good and it's a good opportunity to showcase everything I've learned throughout the years. It's a big change from the NCAA from the speed of play to the technical part and the tactical part."
The 22 year old midfielder also says that the passion for the game and among the people and the atmosphere at the games was a significant factor as to why he decided to bypass MLS and move overseas.
"That's probably the main reason I went over there, actually. The main reason I chose it over the MLS was probably the atmosphere," Bedoya explained. "Over there football is life. It's nice to get over there and have the town or city know who you are and have their support. That can go both ways, but that's part of the fun of it."
Bedoya also said that he has occasionally felt the differences that come for being an American overseas in Europe. However, he has said that it really has not lead to any bad experiences so far.
"I don't know if they are treating me different. Sometimes you hear everybody gets on the Americans a lot for several reasons," Bedoya said. "Sometimes I get that. Sometimes fans will stop you and start talking politics all of a sudden. But it's all fun. I don't think because I am an American that it makes it different but it's nice everybody speaks English. That's a big plus for me."
Now Bedoya finds himself in California with the US national team as they prepare to face fellow World Cup qualifier Honduras on January 23rd. Bedoya certainly sees this as a great experience and one in which he hopes to improve as a player
"Obviously I am happy to be here," Bedoya said on being at his first camp. "It's a great opportunity for me to showcase my skills and I hope to learn a lot and develop more. I think I can gain a lot of confidence out of this camp going forward into the future."
When Bedoya found out last month that he was selected to take part in the US national team camp, he said he was surprised but very happy.
"It was rewarding. I was happy about it, I was excited and maybe a little surprised," Bedoya recalled. "It's nice to know that they are watching players abroad and rewarding you for good play. I think that's a good thing and I hope to do my best."
While Bedoya faces an uphill climb to make this summer's World Cup roster for the USA, he remains optimistic about his team's chances in South Africa where they will face England, Algeria, and Slovenia.
"I don't think it's a bad draw," Bedoya said of the teams the US is scheduled to face. "The first game is against England I am sure the team will be prepared for that. They are a big team and everyone knows their team and players. The draw is good and I think we have a good opportunity. Hopefully the team is ready to go and can go as far as they can."
This spring Bedoya will return to Írebro for his second season. One day he would like to return to his home country to play but for now he is happy to have is career based overseas where that passion for the sport is unparalleled.
"I definitely see myself coming back to the States in the future," Bedoya concluded. "But for now I think I definitely like to stay overseas and grow up with some of the culture over there and learn from everything and make it as high as possible."