Monday Morning Centerback

MMCB: The improbable case of Anton Peterlin


You know the script all too well. American soccer player with foreign roots gets a chance of a lifetime and signs with a big English club. It is the basic premise behind the movie "Goal", but it is also the story of California native Anton Peterlin.

A defensive midfielder at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo last fall, Peterlin scored a dream opportunity to train with English club Everton this spring and made the most of it, impressing Everton manager David Moyes enough to earn a contract offer he will sign this summer.

Yes, the legend of Santiago Munez is alive and well.

The story surfaced last week and spread like a legend, leading many (myself included) to wonder if it could really be true, but when Moyes spoke publicly about Everton's move to sign Peterlin, the seeming fairy tale became reality.

Peterlin, 22, wasn't known by many outside of California before emerging as the newest American Abroad. His two goals and three assists over the course of three seasons at Cal Poly-SLO weren't exactly the numbers to catch people's attention, but his time playing with the Ventura County Fusion helped impress the right people and provided him with a chance to train with Everton, the same club that had just last summer made inquiries about signing U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley. Peterlin impressed enough to have Everton offer him a deal, and his Danish passport meant signing wouldn't be a problem.

Now Peterlin is set to join the Toffees this summer when Everton arrives to tour the United States this summe and there is a good chance he will be taking the field when Everton plays the MLS All-Stars this summer. If he does, it will help provide the perfect ending to the first chapter of Peterlin's own version of "Goal: The Movie."

What do you think of this story? Glad to see American players finding such great opportunities overseas? Wishing MLS clubs had the resources to scout the American college and PDL soccer scene well enough to uncover diamonds in the rough like Peterlin? Starting to believe the notion that dozens and dozens more Americans would be playing in Englan if they could secure work permits?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Martha c

    If we could field 3 goalies and 8 d-midfielders we would have a chance!!

    or if we could field 10 defensive midfielders and a goalie we could win the world cup!!!

    …of course sometimes I think Bob Bradley tries to do the later!!!


  • fig

    DC Josh wrote:
    Unfortunately, Mexico and European clubs come knocking before MLS and before you know it, our MNT is missing a star striker (Rossi) and a solid center half (Subotic). Imagine how deep we would be with just those two, not including Edgar Castillo.

    You’re using Rossi and Subotic as examples in this discussion? These guys chose other countries b/c they wanted to play for Italy and Serbia, respectively, not because the U.S. didn’t give them the opportunity.


  • dcu#10fan

    All the best to Peterlin. I hope he does well, grows as a player, etc., but, MLS bashers need to get a grip in this particular case and Paul Lorinczi is in extra need of getting a grip.

    He played four years in one of the best college soccer conferences in the country, where plenty of MLS scouts have seen him play without a doubt.

    He is a senior Team Captain, as pointed out in the article, he would not have gone unnoticed).

    The article points out that he had workouts with MLS teams and that he was chasing the European dream thanks in part to the help of a PDL team coach (part of the US youth soccer system, no?).

    He clearly is not among the forgotten from the other side of the tracks as Paul Lorinczi implies (more cliches next time, Paul?) since he was playing big time college soccer and for a PDL team.

    See the long list of players US soccer fans have gotten excited about (and bashed MLS about) just because they spent some time in Europe. How many of them were really special players missed by the system? Please, let’s hear about one.

    I don’t think the youth system is perfect here – but it isn’t perfect in Europe or S.America either and we aren’t about to dump what we have entirely for a professional club based system any time soon (even if we should, which is debatable).

    If it changed tomorrow, there would still be more money and larger squads in Europe and some players willing to do anything to chase the dream there, just as many Spanish basketball players will give up a very good paycheck and big role on their team to chase the dream of playing with the best in the NBA. Some will go and then return better players, but not necessarily stars, in MLS when they realize they are not going to really make it. Good for them for trying. Others will do it all here in MLS and that’s fine too. When MLS fails, let’s jump all over them. When real injustice (in the soccer sense) is uncovered, let’s raise heck on the blogosphere. But a little sense of perspective, please, MLS/US Soccer bashers, this is just a nice story for now and doesn’t represent a big MLS failure or soccer injustice.


  • Richard, UK

    The kid wants to play for Denmark.

    Also, I like how people who are livid that their MLS club didn’t sign him despite never having heard of him before. How hilariously ridiculous.

    So what if Everton signed him? That doesn’t make him quality, it just means he impressed enough for them to take a risk free gamble on him.


  • MikeD

    Since you mentioned Michael Bradley’s previous link to Everton, it made think about his career so far. Peterlin is 22 and Bradley doesn’t turn 22 for almost 3 months. Bradley has been in Europe for 3+ seasons and starting for the last 2 seasons in Holland and now Germany. Now I’m sure someone will say it’s because of his dad, but that is impressive for such a young kid. 😛

    Hopefully Peterlin does well for Everton.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    For those saying people are over reacting about MLS not signing this kid, Jen Chang asks the same questions:


    Personally, I am not bashing MLS – I’m bashing the Quakes who have a clear need at his position (and the other ten, by the way). Obviously, we don’t know what went on, but the Quakes have done little to inspire my confidence recently.

    Also, considering the guy’s age, this is not taking a flyer on a teenager. He must have shown SOMETHING, and they must think he can contribute in a year or so.

    Of course, odds are this is the last we hear of him. But….


  • northzax

    how could the Fire or Quakes sign him? isn’t he an American college player, and therefore subject to the draft?


  • Joey

    Thanks to his Engliash manager he got his chance. I bet USSF or MLS didn’t know anything about him.

    I bet he plays for Denmark now


  • Evan

    lucky dude. I’m 14 and i hope i can do this some day. good luck to this kid tho


  • Alex

    Jen Chang??? you actually linked to him?? why? look this kids not going to everton to fight for a first team spot, he’s trying for a reserve spot… I say the quakes made a good move if he wasn’t ready now, let everton develop him, Thorrington developed at Man U, look at davies from south hampton, these guys have big dreams and its going to be tough to sit on the bench and wait for your turn, besides I bet he knows like we all do if it dosen’t work out he can always go back home.


  • bluemersey

    @ Chase: “the real club of Merseyside”? You’re treading on thin ice with that comment, given that Everton FC gave birth to Liverpool FC and have enormous and insanely passionate support in the city of Liverpool, arguably more in the city than LFC who draw most of their support from wider England and Europe beyond. Outside of Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool FC, Everton have won the most honours in the English game, dwarfing the acheivements of higher profile sides like Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.

    Everton boss David Moyes is widely regarded here in the UK as one of the finest coaches in the game and is fancied by many to be in line to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Moyes doesn’t suffer fools and hasn’t given this young man a chance merely on a speculative whim. He’s given him a chance at a club with arguably the best team spirit and work ethic in the Premiership, undoubtedly a top class destination for a young, hard-working player. I wish him every success at Everton!


  • Joamiq

    “I want to open-hand slap you across the face so bad right now.”

    As for this story… how on earth… well, his just getting signed by Everton is a great story. Let’s see where he goes. I’m sure we’re all rooting for him.


  • Joey

    You’re using Rossi and Subotic as examples in this discussion? These guys chose other countries b/c they wanted to play for Italy and Serbia, respectively, not because the U.S. didn’t give them the opportunity.

    Posted by: fig | May 04, 2009 at 03:26 PM


    Come on ; Subotic was told by Rogen he was not good enough.


  • BCC

    kplugs, you want to “slap” me? Wow, then what? Recommend a good place for a manicure? I have never been threatened by a woman on the internet before.

    I still say that this is hyperbole. Do you think Spanish or Italian bloggers get excited when someone gets a contract from an EPL club? If Peterlin makes the first team and plays well on a consistent basis, then I will be excited. Getting a contract doesn’t mean ****. Go ask Jozy.

    Slap me . . . you’d be too afraid to break a nail.


  • Steve

    Why do we get so prematurely excited about such signings? Andrew Jacobson (L’Orient), Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Danny Szetela (Racing Santander), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria)….we all got similarly excited by these signings. Unfortunately, they all never saw the light of day with their original clubs, and I trust that’s the case with a majority of young signings. I hope all of the players above, and Peterlin, eventually develop successful careers, either back in the MLS (as in Jacobson’s case) or abroad, but the signing in and of itself is not too much to get excited about.


  • Matt

    hahaha dope i played pickup with him like two months ago. hes pretty legit. pretty stoked, we had a beastly team at poly this year and he was def the crucial cog.


  • EJ Ruane

    Moyes speciality – finding lads like this (ie: hardworking but not obviously ‘stars’) and turning them into great team players.
    As a blue I wish this lad all the best and can promise him, all he has to do to win the supporters over is work his nuts off EVERY game. Good luck!


  • Tony H

    Davey Moyes knows his stuff, if their is more to come from Anton Peterlin, then he will get it.

    Trust me as a season ticket holder at Everton for over 30 years – Moyes is the Main Man. We spend very little compared to most of the Prem, but are always digging out Diamonds in the Rough.



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