BEDOYA BASKING IN EUROPEAN GLOW
Orebro SK midfielder Alejandro Bedoya could not be happier after helping his team qualify for next season's Europa League with their third place finish in the 2010 Swedish Allsvenskan.
The club wrapped up third place last week paving the way for a berth in European competition next fall.
It will be the first time since the 1997-1998 UEFA Cup campaign that Orebro has participated in Europe and the significance of that achievement is not lost on the second-year American.
"You could say that it's ‘mission accomplished' for us," Bedoya recently remarked to YA. "We've known all season long that we have a strong team so it is rewarding to have a top three finish. I think we could have challenged for first if we could have kept our focus better during the season, but overall, it's great.
"It's the club's second highest finish ever and I think we brought back an attractive style of play to the city and the fans who have been great in their support of us."
While Bedoya's 2009 season was more of an adjustment process to the professional game in Europe, 2010 saw the former Boston College man stand out in his play thus earning him a weekly spot in head coach Sixten Bostrom's starting 11.
He adds that the style utilized at Orebro is similar to what he played in while in college allowing for a higher ceiling of growth in his second season.
"My first year was really about getting acclimated and it helps that the system here fits my style," noted Bedoya. "I played in the same system at BC and I have been able to grow into my role here. I have the freedom to flow while on the field and get into space which is what I do best. Also playing with the US national team during the year gave me alot of confidence."
Orebro's journey to their Europa League berth started all the way back in January when the team convened for preseason training in Finland.
Due to this past summer's World Cup, the Allsvenskan started in early March to allow for a one month midseason break during which Bedoya found himself in the pre-World Cup selection camp for the US.
Playing nearly nonstop for ten months has left the 23 year old eagerly anticipating an offseason that will include some rest before hitting the gym to make himself a better player.
"First thing I want to do is get some rest," he chuckled. "It was a long season this year with camp starting in January and then playing in the national team games. But really it'll only be one to two weeks max of rest before I start working out. I'll also review some game tape from this past season and then look to get bigger in my upper body and improve my speed so I can be faster."
Although the New Jersey native still has a year left on his contract, there will assuredly be whispers of Bedoya moving to a bigger club in the upcoming winter transfer window.
There was already the rumor this past summer that the midfielder would join compatriot Maurice Edu at Scottish club Rangers FC and it stands to reason that the names of other clubs will surface in the upcoming weeks.
Bedoya insists that he is happy playing at Orebro and fulfilling his contract, but at the same time he would also welcome a transfer should it be the right situation.
"I'm open to a move," he affirmed. "There's no secret that when I came here my hope was to move on to a better league or club. As a player, I'm happy playing here and would love to be part of this team in the Europa League, but should the option arise and it's the right situation with the right club, I would make the move.
"Realistically, I think Holland would be a next step," he said of his future. "Certainly joining Charlie [Davies] down in France would be great. Playing in the Bundesliga would be amazing too!"
Bedoya's relationship with Davies is well-chronicled as the two share a bond not just in national team circles but also as proud former players of BC.
The two speak to each other on a daily basis while Davies continues his recuperation from last fall's fatal car accident.
Bedoya believes that the Sochaux man is nearing full health and would not be surprised to see Davies take the field soon for the club's senior team.
"Charlie's spirits are high," Bedoya concluded. "The guy is so strong mentally and I'm pretty sure that we could be seeing him dress out for a match very soon."