MEN'S SOCCER: After Success Abroad, Bedoya Looks To Join World Cup Squad
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 01:09
In 2009, Boston College’s Carroll School of Management graduated a member of the United States national team’s starting eleven.
Scoring 14 goals in his two years with the Eagles, Alejandro Bedoya, BC ’09, lit up the NCAA, earning All-America honors twice. Since leaving BC, Bedoya has gone on to play professionally for multiple clubs, in addition to representing the U.S.A.
His time at Chestnut Hill saw him compete with what is arguably one of the best teams in the program’s history. As a transfer student from Fairleigh Dickinson University, the American international’s play helped the team to ACC regular season and tournament titles, not to mention a No. 1 seed in the 2007 NCAA tournament.
After being named Senior Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year at BC’s All-Sports Banquet in 2009, Bedoya was on his way to Swedish club Orebro.
In his debut season, the midfielder struck three times for the club before scoring two in his next year of play. The right-winger, not known for his goal scoring at the professional level, is potent in other ways, contributing to the creative side of his team’s attack.
Called up to the national team in 2010, he played six times and enjoyed his first start against international superpower Brazil. Bedoya made coach Bob Bradley’s 30-man preliminary roster for the country’s 2010 World Cup team, but failed to make the cut.
His performances in Sweden’s top flight gave him leverage to complete a move to one of the world’s most famous football clubs. Glasgow Rangers FC acquired him in 2011 for £250,000, a bargain price according to respected player database TransferMarkt.com, who valued the American at €1.5 million in 2011.
Bedoya’s career with the club was short-lived though, as the Scottish team filed for bankruptcy, causing them to enter administration, meaning they could not pay their outstanding debts. This took the team out of the country’s top division, forcing Bedoya to ply his trade elsewhere. He signed a short-term deal with Helsingborg just over a year ago.
Bedoya’s struggle to find playing time saw him become an afterthought of newly appointed U.S.A. manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
But since the new manager called up Bedoya this summer, the 26-year-old has ascended to the summit of the country’s game. He returned to play for his home country in its Gold Cup triumph this summer. After scoring his first national team goal in a pre-tournament friendly against Guatemala, Bedoya impressed once again in the semifinal against Honduras, despite originally getting off to a slippery start.
His speed and technique down the right side helped him receive a flick from striker Eddie Johnson off a goal kick. As two defenders converged on Bedoya, the winger poked the 50-50 ball to Landon Donovan who slotted it home.
Later in the match, Bedoya lost his man on a set-piece, allowing the Hondurans to halve the American advantage, but the ex-BC man restored order to the match on 69 minutes. His whipped cross found Donovan once again for a sublime strike.
The New Jersey native’s performance against Honduras earned him a starting spot against Panama in the Gold Cup final. In a gritty match, he was the team’s most positive player, cutting in on multiple occasions to get off shots.
His attacking mentality led to the tournament’s winner. A Bedoya cross into the box deflected off Donovan’s foot. The ball trickled toward the goal’s far post, only to be pounded into the back of the net by teammate Brek Shea.
His Gold Cup performance allowed him to move from Swedish outfit Helsingborg to FC Nantes of Ligue 1, France’s first division.
Bedoya’s former manager, Ed Kelly believes that the move to Nantes will help in the long run of the player’s career.
“I think it’s a great move, because I think he’s playing in one of the top leagues,” Kelly said.
Along with the midfielder’s extremely high work rate, Bedoya could be a tactical asset to a team bereft of outside backs.
“His accomplishments with the national team were fantastic, because he’s got a fantastic work rate and they are lacking, in my humble opinion, somebody to protect the full backs,” Kelly said. “That’s one of the spots they haven’t been able to cement out for anybody.”
Klinsmann also rates the winger, and his work ethic, highly. Last week, the national team’s gaffer told Soccer by Ives, “Bedoya made a huge jump over the last seven, eight months just during my time now, because he came pretty late into my picture.
“He was with [the U.S. under previous head coach Bob Bradley] already, and compared to where he was in the January camp to where he is now, it’s just really wonderful to see.”
With Graham Zusi a last-minute scratch, Bedoya jumped straight into the U.S. team for its World Cup qualifier against Mexico last week. While he did not produce the same performance he did in the Gold Cup, Bedoya was playing against stronger opposition on Tuesday evening.
Bedoya served as a solid replacement for last year’s MLS assist leader, but the Eagle wants to be more than that in years to come. He still has time to become a regular starter, and has the quality, pace, and after this summer, the experience to compete with Zusi.
“He, by himself, has made what he thought was possible,” Kelly said. “He’s a phenomenal kid, very respectful, very hard-working. He worked with the ups and down in a class way. It took a long time for Klinsmann to recognize his abilities.
“He’s there at the right time, and he’s taken advantage of it, and I hope that he reaps the rewards that go along with all that hard work, and he does get to go to the World Cup, because that is something that would be very special for him and his family.”
In a matter of months, Klinsmann will pick his first U.S. World Cup squad. Bedoya is a sure bet for the 30-man preliminary team, but the question becomes whether or not Bedoya will be flying high in Brazil come next summer.