BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, August 10, 2010
With the US national team preparing for the Tuesday night's friendly against Brazil, Orebro midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will be looking to start off strong after narrowly missing out on making the World Cup team.
For Bedoya, 23, the match will have added meaning as it will serve as a homecoming and a chance to play in front of numerous friends and family who will be in attendance.
He has a strong association with the Garden State as he was born in nearby Englewood and played part of his college soccer career at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
"It feels great to be back," Bedoya told YA from New Medowland's Stadium in New Jersey. "It's always an honor. It's very exciting to be a part of the national team. Just being here, back in New Jersey with so many family and friends, that makes it that much greater."
The game will also be Bedoya's first against Brazil and the chance to play against the five-time World Cup champions is something he feels will be a special experience.
"All you got to say is Brazil and everyone knows what they are. It's not their A team but it's Brazil. They've got players everywhere. It's going to be nice to play against a team like that."
Bedoya did not emerge with the national team until this past January when he earned his first camp in a friendly against Honduras. His strong play for Orebro and in a friendly against the Netherlands earned him an invitation to World Cup camp.
Even though Bedoya did not make the Cup as the roster was trimmed from 30 players to 23, he now considers the experience to be invaluable to him as he looks to establish himself early in the 2014 cycle.
"I think that the fact that I was included in the last cycle gave me a lot of confidence," Bedoya discussed. "Looking forward I hope to be part of this cycle. I think that the experience I gained from the last cycle is going to help me a lot. Just being there and being part of the pre-World Cup camp and stuff like that."
While Bedoya is looking to establish himself with the national team as it begins the new cycle, he does so while a major part of the team's future remains uncertain.
With head coach Bob Bradley's contract with US Soccer expiring at the end of the year, it is possible that Tuesday's game could be the last with Bradley in charge.
Bedoya has enjoyed playing under Bradley and hopes he succeeds at his next job should he part ways with the US national team.
"I really enjoy playing under [Coach Bradley]," Bedoya analyzed. "I don't have anything but good things to say about him. Whatever he decides to do, it'll be the best for him. He's looking to succeed too just like any player transferring to a club he's looking to do what's best and do well."
Bedoya was able to climb into the national team pool so quickly this past year in large part to his strong and consistent play at Orebro in Sweden's top league, the Allsvenskan.
He feels that making the move to Sweden after college has helped improve his game to the point where he can help the national team.
"I have no regrets at all," Bedoya said of Orebro. "It's helped me a lot in my game. I think if you look at the way Bob coaches here and the way the [Swedish] league is, it's very tactical, very organized and systematic. I think that that has helped me out, especially defensively. I think it's been a good move."
"To be a part of the national team it's more important to play at the club level," he continued. "Or else you are never going to get callups. I just got to focus on that."
Since joining Orebro in 2009, Bedoya has played well for the club. He is now finding himself the subject of potential transfer rumors. He said it is not something that he thinks much about.
"I just got to focus on my club," Bedoya said of the rumors. "As a player, you always have to think, if you do well, good things are going to come. So you just have to focus on your playing and that's it."
Bedoya and Orebro are currently in third place in the 16 team Allsvenskan with 32 points from 18 games. Their next game is on Monday when they will go on the road to take on fifth place Mjällby.