Why They Should Come Home

Why They Should Come Home

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On December 20, 2010
  • Benny Feilhaber, Carlos Bocanegra, Charlie Davies, Eddie Johnson, Frank Simek, Freddy Adu, Marcus Tracy, Mike Grella

I came across an article on MLSSoccer.com earlier this morning and really thought it was worth discussing. The article is about former MLSers and other Americans/Canadians abroad that should return home to play in MLS. I can’t say I disagree with many on this list and I have a couple more that probably just need to suck it up and return home so they can actually see some playing time on the field.

We know its tough for a young player to head to Europe when they get the big contract. For some it works out. You have a decent group of Americans now in Europe that see playing time on a consistent basis but others struggle. I think Stuart Holden put it well recently in an interview (sorry couldn’t find the link). He said that MLS set him nicely for a move to Europe. Had he gone straight away and not gotten a few years experience in MLS first he would be struggling to see any sort of playing time because the adjustment is so tough for younger players.

For some of these guys below the adjustment was either due to them going to Europe at the wrong time in their career, coaching changes…or constant coaching changes, injuries or whatever.

One of the biggest obstacles in getting any number of these guys back in a MLS uniform is money. Most of these guys have earned more in Europe and will expect to that much here in MLS. Well, that probably won’t happen.

I’ll give you the five mentioned in the article and a few others worth discussing as well.

Eddie Johnson – I’ve thought for a while he needed to return to MLS. He’s been with Fulham since he left MLS a couple years ago. The Grown-Ass Man has seen loan spells to two other clubs that yielded some playing time for him. His contract runs out with Fulham next summer which would be the perfect time for a MLS team to make a pitch to him. He can still score and grabbing a guy like him for a late season push could be the difference in winning a MLS Cup and not reaching the playoffs.

Benny Feilhaber – He’s still very young but I’ve thought for ages he should give MLS a shot. His contract ends in the summer as well and he would be a big upgrade for anyone’s midfield. He may be just entering his prime but maybe a trip back home could help get his career back on track after a couple slowish seasons.

Carlos Bocanegra – This is more of those he’s done plenty and now its time to come home for a couple seasons before he hangs it up. I kind of doubt he’ll come just yet but maybe in a year or so he’ll give it a shot. He’s a natural leader that could really help a number of clubs in the back.

Rob Friend – I had to do a little more studying up on this guy. He’s Canadian and would obviously be a draw to Vancouver or Toronto (or even Montreal). He’s 30 but probably would be an instant upgrade on offense for TFC should he ever make the treck back home to the great white north.

Eddy Sidra – Not a common name for some MLS fans. He’s still very young and would be a nice defensive addition for either Canadian side. The article mentions he’s a free agent at the moment so why not make a play for the young defender?


A few others worth throwing out there:

Freddy Adu – It won’t happen probably due to him and his agent being stubborn about where plays but he’d actually find playing time if he came back to MLS. I’d imagine the expectations would still be places on him if he did which could keep him from ever returning back here.

Frank Simek – He may have just signed a two year deal with Carlisle United so he could be a couple years away from considering it unless he helps them reach the EPL next year (unlikely at the moment it seems).

Mike Grella – Another young guy that has seen his moments already in England with Leeds and now Carlisle United. He was loaned out this season to get more playing time and so far he’s only seen limited action.

Paul Stalteri – Another Canadian to keep watch out for. He’s still in Germany at the moment but the playing time for this 33-year old isn’t all that great. He’s a little older than most TFC or Whitecap fans would want to see come back to them but I’d imagine he’d be a much better improvement for the Reds over someone like Nick Garcia.

Charlie Davies – Yes I know he finally returned to the first team bench this weekend but I still have a hunch he’ll be in MLS before long. I hope to be proved wrong for his sake though as I’d love to see him get back to where he was at before his horrific car crash.

Kenny Cooper – The move to Europe hasn’t been a smooth one for KC Junior. Either its a lack of playing time or another loan spell that doesn’t work out for him it seems like nothing has really gone his way so far since leaving FC Dallas.

Marcus Tracy – Another one I still have a hunch will come to MLS before long. He skipped out on playing in MLS a couple years ago even though he was drafted by the Houston Dynamo. Things looked nice starting out for him in Denmark but only 15 appearances since joining Aalborg in 2009 doesn’t bode well for his future.


I’m sure there are plenty more that are really in need of a better playing situation and returning home to MLS would be a good fit. Feel free to add them below. Just keep in mind that I’m not saying any of these guys are going to come back to MLS tomorrow or even next summer. Just an opinion that I think they’d be better off back here.

  • Greg

    You hit the nail on the head. A lot of these guys can make more money playing off the bench or in the reserves of biggish clubs in Europe than in MLS.

  • euroman

    These guys can come home to MLS anytime but to play in Europe is a dream and most are makingabout 3 times what MLS would pay them. It would be crazy to come home if anybody over there still wants them. MLS will always be a last resort even for marginal players.