BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, August 16, 2010
After training the past few weeks in Sweden with Allsvenskan club Orebro, left back Santiago Bedoya is returning to Northeastern University to prepare for his senior season in the NCAA.
While the topic of him signing with the club never arose, Bedoya feels the experience went well and knows what he has to do when once he starts his professional career after the NCAA season ends in December.
"It was really good actually," Bedoya told YA. "It was a good experience more than anything else. I think I did well overall for the most part."
In Sweden, Bedoya felt he played well but he was given a clear indication of what areas of his game need to be improved on before he turns professional.
"I definitely feel that I could have done better," Bedoya recalled. "But it was a good eye-opening experience in the sense that it really showed me what I really have to work on. For example, I would say that my fitness and stamina was up to their level. I could definitely keep up with their speed and I was one of the faster guys but my touch would let me down a few times."
Bedoya, 21, also feels that once he addresses the issue of his first touch, he will certainly be able to play at that level.
"It just really showed me how it is so crucial. I saw it first-hand that my first touch would let me down and that's probably the only thing and I'd say that once I improve that there's no stopping me. I believe that I can play at that level."
The Orebro coaching staff was frequently giving Bedoya feedback on his play and the information they were giving him was extremely helpful towards improving his game.
"A few times they would talk to me and it was always positive feedback and very helpful stuff," Bedoya added. "They told me little things that will make a big difference in the long run. I was really thankful for that."
The younger Bedoya's trial with Orebro was well publicized in large part to the fact that his older brother, Alejandro, is one of the team's best players.
For Santiago, having Alejandro there was good despite the fact the two have only played together during one season in high school.
"To have him there, it was really good because he knows he doesn't have to break anything lightly to me," Bedoya pointed out. "He can just tell me straight up to work on my touch or that I have to do better."
"I would say that my confidence was down the first two or three days because the pace was a lot faster," he continued. "But my brother was there to tell me that all my ideas were right but that I have to get my first touch and execute better."
The former Boston College standout agreed that Santiago played well during his time with the club after he got over the first few days of adjusting to the professional environment.
"I think he did real well," the elder Bedoya noted. "I've gotten nothing but positive feedback from both the club, the team, the players and some of the fans that were there to watch him. So that's good. I think that he was a bit nervous at the beginning during the first few days. But as he went on he got confidence and he did real well. It was really good to see him play."
Alejandro did agree with Santiago that he was hard on his younger brother but in the end, that was only to help him understand the nature of the professional environment.
"I was a bit hard on him at the beginning," Alejandro admitted. "I was trying to get him to get the tempo. I want to be objective and I want him to succeed. At the end of the day, looking back at his play, it went real well."
Santiago did conclude his stay in Sweden with a discussion with the sporting director at Orebro where he was informed that the club would keep track of his play for the rest of the year.
"I did talk to the sporting director there," Bedoya discussed. "He did say he would continue to monitor me over in the states this season."
Santiago is now back in Massachusetts where he will hope to lead Northeastern to a strong season. He has set out firm goals that he wants to win the CAA defender of the year and lead the club past the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Following this season, Bedoya will have to make a decision as to where to take his first steps as a professional player. As of now, he is undecided as to whether or not to move overseas or try to play in the US with MLS.
"I've been thinking about my future this whole summer and I know I want to play professionally," Bedoya concluded. "For me I am 50-50 now. I am not necessarily in favor of going overseas or staying in MLS. It'll come down to the offer and what is right for me."