BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, May 21, 2010
After having been on an extended trial at Ipswich, Cody Cropper hopes to start his career in the country where American keepers have flourished.
Cropper arrived at English Championship club Ipswich in early January after receiving an invitation to go on trial.
The invitation came from a contact that Cropper's father had with Tottenham who found that the Tractor Boys were looking for young goalkeepers.
After more than four months at the club, Crooper has enjoyed his experience at Ipswich and he hopes it results in a contract.
"It's really good," Cropper told YA from England. "They have me training with the first team everyday and working with first team coaches like Roy Keane and working with goalkeepers like Brian Murphy who played for Ireland. I just hope that I can get a contract because it would be an amazing place to start my career out."
Despite only being 17, Cropper is free to play in England without UK work permit rules or FIFA restrictions on minors applying because Cropper holds dual citizenship with the UK through his British-born father.
It still remains to be seen if he will be offered a contract but Cropper is optimistic and hopeful.
"I like to think that they like me, but nobody has said anything to me yet," Cropper discussed. "It is one of my top priorities to get a contract. With all the traveling I have done past including all over UK, I need to start to settle down in one spot."
Cropper was born in Atlanta but grew up in Minnesota where he feels he developed most as a player. He spent time with US Soccer's residency program at Bradenton but left. For most of the past two years he has lived and played in England.
"I was at Bradenton for 9 months," Cropper said of his time in Florida. "It put me through the paces a bit. I ended up leaving because I wasn't getting playing time and I had opportunities overseas. I had better opportunities here in England to play. But I could always go back, like I am doing now with the U20 national team."
A few weeks ago, Cropper was named by US U20 head coach Thomas Rongen to the roster for the latest camp that will take place in Holland.
For Cropper, it will be his first time with the U20 team and he will hope to establish himself as a potential option for next year's U20 World Cup team should the US qualify.
The US is deep at the position and Cropper will have to battle fellow netminders University of Maryland's Zac MacMath, UCLA's EJ Edwards, and Porto's Samir Badr for playing opportunities.
Cropper, who is now currently with the team in Holland, is optimistic for his first U20 camp and he thinks the large contingent of European based players will help.
"I just hope that it's a good environment where everybody that is there can show what they've got to offer," Cropper said. "We are the future of American soccer. I think Rongen knows that and wants to bring the best players up and that's why he's selecting from the overseas players this trip."
Cropper is also optimistic for the US team's chances at next year's U20 World Cup in Colombia. He knows several of the players and is impressed with the talent.
Cropper, who is also eligible for the 2013 U20 World Cup, considers it a top priority to make the team next year.
"I think this can be a good team," Cropper optimistically concluded. "With players like Perry Kitchen, who is a great defender, and a great attacker like Jack McInerney. It is one of my top goals to make the team. I think that to get experience to play for your country is a great honor."