Major League Soccer

Americans Abroad Ticker: Okugo training in Freiburg, Bocanegra injured, and more



When he took the job as head coach of the US national team, Jurgen Klinsmann urged players in Major League Soccer to keep playing at a high level throughout the offseason.

It appears as though they are listening.

Amobi Okugo became the latest American to earn a training stint at a European club on Monday when he joined SC Freiburg, sources told SBI. The German club, formerly home to American winger Daniel Williams, currently sits the relegation zone in the Bundesliga. Freiburg will also host Perry Kitchen in a training session along with Okugo.

Okugo joins a long list of young American and other MLS players that will be training abroad this offseason. Also in Germany, Kyle Beckerman and Robbie Rogers will be with Kaiserslautern while Juan Agudelo will be in Stuttgart. In England, striker Teal Bunbury will be with Bolton, and Omar Salgado will train at Fulham, among others.

Here are some other Americans Abroad stories to whet your appetite:


Out of England comes a report from the Daily Mirror which claims that Tim Ream will join West Bromwich Albion "on trial" starting next month.

Ream was previously reported to be joining West Brom for training stints starting on December 3, but the Mirror suggests that the opportunity could prove much more lucrative for the New York Red Bulls defender. The report claims that if Ream performs well during his "trial," a loan deal with an option for a permanent move could be agreed upon.

The report also claims that Manchester City's Nedum Onuoha is another loan target for West Brom, and he could be in competition with Ream.


report from the Associated Press says Rangers have ruled out American defender Carlos Bocanegra for the next two weeks.

Bocanegra missed Sunday's shocking 1-0 defeat by Kilmarnock with an apparent hamstring injury, and now Rangers say that knock could keep him out for the next two weeks.

The loss to Kilmarnock was the first of the season for Rangers, which also is home to American midfielders Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya.

  • Vic

    If I were Ream I would try to get a permanent deal somewhere, rather than a loan to permanent. If he has a couple of bad games he will be sent back to the Red Bulls and hurt his chances of getting into the premiership.


  • JJ

    For the Olympics, why does Nashville seem to consistently get picked for hosting games(08 too) despite not being considered enough of a ‘soccer market’ to EVER be in consideration for an MLS expansion team?

    Also, seems like the team will be depleted because European-based players like Chandler, Williams, Altidore, etc. won’t be let out.


  • bae

    the downful of Britain should be laid at the feet of the English national team and how they suck year in, year out and the lack of actual talent in the SPL


  • NATO

    Sucks for Boca. Just to make sure his injury heals perfectly, he should sit out for 4weeks and heal himself fully. He’s getting up there in age.


  • James

    What is with Arena’s comments about all these training stints? He is SO butthurt over Klinnsman still, it’s really pathetic.


  • Creige

    Ream is an average defender at best in the MLS. I wish European teams would actually scout the MLS instead of just trialing any player with few caps for the USMNT. It may seem harmless but if Ream fails it lowers the stock of American players. In my opinion, every Premier League team could use a Geoff Cameron but that won’t happen unless he gets caps with the USMNT.


  • matt

    There is a huge difference between convincing 15-20K people to show up every week to watch MLS soccer and getting 50-80K to show up once to watch the national team. Besides, marketing 101 says you need to have some presence among demographics that don’t already buy into your product. If the US only plays in places where they always draw tons of fans, they will never establish a footprint in a place like the south.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    JJ, to be in discussions for an MLS team, there needs to be an ownership group willing to pony up the cash. Demographics are one thing, a fan-base ala the Sons of Ben will make the discussion feasible…but a committed owner(s) changes it completely.
    Therefore, the question is not when but who?


  • hogatroge

    The last game in Nashville did set an attendance record for a game in TN. Also, the ownership of the Nashville Metros, currently in USL PDL, wants to move the team up to USL (with the target of eventually becoming an attractive MLS market in a decade or so).


  • mypurpleundercracker

    Premier league teams can only bring over players that have a certain percentage of national team caps. That is why they trial certain players over others.


  • Aaron in StL

    They try and use these matches (and World Cup tuneups) to draw more interest in the area. Nashville was actually on the final cutdown list for the 2022 WC bid but that means squat now.

    It helps though that the Tennessee Titans management actively seeks opportunities for games at their stadium as well.


  • Dennis

    Ream is young for a defender. He will grow (or not), but it is the potential teams look for, else the Premiership teams would be signing the US starters like Onyewu or even perhaps Goodson.


  • bryan

    Najar to Spurs for training. Interesting. Arena:

    “You know, this thing, ‘training with a foreign club,’ they don’t really care about that player. He shows up, it’s an American, they got a schedule, the big clubs are in three competitions a week, your training with a reserve team or an academy team. All of this, its not what its built up to be, believe me. Most of the time; you know we’ve been doing that (sending players abroad for training) for 15 years, just to let you people know, this is not a revelation that someone has discovered that you could do that; you know so for the most part it’s ok but it doesn’t move anyone further along to be honest with you.”

    I like Bruce, but I think this comment is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but the rate at which US players are going on these trials is more than ever. Sure, maybe 15 years ago we had a few players, but it’s nothing like what it is now.

    I would agree with him in regards to someone like Donovan or even Beckerman. Here you have two players that are as good as they’re going to be. It probably doesn’t serve them much good to train with the reserves. But at the same time, it’s not doing them any harm.


  • Steve

    It’s possibly about money for the Red Bulls. If they sell him now, they’ll only keep half of the transfer fee, because he’s a drafted player 2 years into his contract. After 3 years, the % the team gets goes up. So loan him, and sell him later.


  • Steve

    C’mon, Britain only suck in relation to their expectations. They’ve made at least the round of 16 at each of the past 4 World Cups.


  • PD

    Nah. He needs another year in MLS and he needs to get outta his current funk. If he starts punching above his weight class before he shakes this off it could go from bad to worse. Honestly I think he needs another club in MLS–maybe Seattle if they would take him?


  • PD

    right… two weeks of training is really gonna put a dent in the THREE month offseason. next you’re gonna worry they won’t make their krispy kream kwota or something….


  • PD

    well it’s understandable. I still haven forgiven him for Germany 06. all he did was stand on the sideline with his arms crossed and a puss on his face…


  • hogatroge

    An acquaintance of mine knows Geoff Cameron personally, and she offered to get my Dynamo jersey signed. The interesting part is that she said it had to be in early December (i.e. next week) without elaborating. Now, this is just conjecture, but this could mean Cameron has secured a loan deal and is leaving town in a week or two. Then again, he could just be going to visit family or taking a well-deserved vacay.


  • TomG

    Bruce sounds defensive. I’d imagine many ask him why he didn’t have U.S. players train with other clubs and he takes offense. While I’m sure he’s right in many respects, Klinsi is concerned that U.S. players simply don’t play enough football and the MLS season is too short. This helps to bridge the gap in that respects. It also gives them exposure to different styles, techniques, tactics, and training regimens which can’t be a bad thing.


  • Neruda

    Arena raised US Soccer while NT coach then Bradley raised it yet again and now it’s time for klinsmann with his Euro roots to raise it even higher. Pretty weak that arena would criticize. Maybe he’s just worried about losing his players.


  • Joamiq

    I think you’re right in saying that these trials certainly don’t hurt, and can help. At the very least, for these players to gain some perspective about what it takes to succeed at the top has to be good for their mindsets.

    Bruce is right though when he says the clubs don’t really care about the players training with them. It’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be. It certainly doesn’t signify that there’s any interest from the club in the player. That the player is even there probably barely registers with them.


  • Kash

    That would not be that great for the orange crush, but I would love to see what he can do in europe. Tim ream is horrible I have never been soo depressed about a player in the us pool.


  • T.Dot

    Yep, how they suck at being ranked in the top-10, beat the reigning world champs and have great young talent coming through. Yep, England is terrible alright. Ireland too, what with qualifying for the Euros and all… /sarcasm done.


  • GW

    Ream has had a bad year. Yet the European scouts who have been scouting him for a few years now still maintain their interest and JK still kept calling him into camp, they he hasn’t played him much. I have yet to read an interview with any of these teams where they explain their interest in spite of his bad year. My guess would be that the old clichĂ© applies here i.e. class is permanent while form is temporary.

    In English that means what is right with Ream, his skill on the ball and the ability to work it out of the back on the ground , that skill is still with him. What is wrong with him , a lack of confidence and an unsettled situation with his defense, can be fixed with a new manager and new teammates. Some players play better when they are placed with better teammates. Ream could be one of them.

    I’m not a NYRB expert but in the few games I did see it seemed to me that Marquez might not have been the best partner for him and Backe did not seem big on working with younger players.

    Of course, Ream could do that with another team in MLS but he isn’t that young anymore and if the Europeans are willing to give him a shot now, if MLS will let him go, if he feels he can do it, then he should go because he may never get a better shot.


  • gigi

    If im new york, then id sell it while its hot. new york would get 500,000 in allocation i believe?? not to sure, but for one of the teams that had the worst defense last season, could be very useful……unless they sign ppl like pietravallo and kandji. Who would they sign if they do sell ream? well with that kind of allocation its best shopping in mls. If new york do sell him, id throw cash to LA for sean franklin if they dont pick him up.


  • hogatroge

    If that’s the case, I am fine with it as long as he’s back in April, uninjured.

    As far as Tim Ream, I’ll reserve judgment for one more season.


  • gigi

    alot of players have a sophmore slump- look for ream to rejuvenate in the offseason after a very busy sophmore campaign, im sure it was a shock to his body, from being a college player to a starter next season for an mls club- then starter for mls club and international team games the next season- its two big jumps, not making any escape paths for him, but you have to take that under consideration and recognize the talent is still there, it would be absurd for anyone not to with hold judgement till next season. If new york as an organization gets their stuff straight this upcoming season, he could be very very influential.


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