U.S. Men's National Team

Bocanega close to returning from hamstring injury

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been sidelined for three weeks since suffering a torn hamstring in the U.S. friendly against Russia last month, but he is close to returning to action for Spanish second-division side Racing Santander.

Bocanegra started running this past weekend, and while he will miss his team’s match against Real Madrid B this weekend, he believes he will be available for selection when Racing Santander faces Sabadell on Dec. 16th.

“It’s feeling a lot better and I should be ready to roll next week,” Bocanegra told SBI in a phone conversation on Wednesday. “I won’t play this weekend but hopefully I’ll be back to full training with the team next week.”

Bocanegra has enjoyed a smooth transition to life in Spain, and has been impressed with the quality of play in the Spanish second division.

“The level is good and there’s definitely some real solid teams in the league, and some teams that are average,”Bocanegra said. “Technically it’s a very good league. It’s not as combative as the Scottish League. I’m able to get more touches on the ball and adapting to a new style of play has been good.”

Bocanegra admitted that he nearly made a move to Major League Soccer this past summer, and identified the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC as teams he was in talks with. Bocanegra revealed that he was very close to a move to TFC before the deal fell through.

“The league is getting a lot better and it would have been cool to go back,” said Bocanegra, who played for the Chicago Fire from 2000 to 2004. “I have one more year on my contract after this year, but it would be good to back and finish up there.”

If Bocanegra can play on Dec. 16th, he would have the chance for two matches before the Spanish winter break. Barring any setbacks, the 33-year-old centerback should be available for selection when the U.S. national team resumes World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6th in Honduras.

  • biff

    Good story, but — ha-ha — would be interesting to know whether or not Boca mentioned anything to writer about last week’s SBI story calling for Boca to be dethroned as captain to make room for Michael Bradley. In any case, kudos to Boca for being a gentleman and talking to the writer anyway (and, want to make clear, I am not criticizing the MB captain piece, I like it when a commentator takes a stand). But some national team captains might have burned the bridge after an article like that.


    • Ives Galarcep

      I’m pretty sure Bocanegra has enough respect for Bradley to have seen the merit in that piece, and I really don’t think players see the captaincy the way you see it, as if it’s some sort of birthright they never want to give up. In fact, we talked about Michael at one point and he couldn’t say enough about how much he has grown as a player in the past two years. I do agree that there might be some captains who might have taken that piece as an insult, but not many, and no Bocanegra.


    • Bobb

      You think that at his age and playing in the Spanish Second Division with plans to come back to MLS, Bocanegra thinks he will be captain of the national team indefinitely?


  • ChrisTheLSUTiger

    Seeing him at Vancouver with DeMerit would have been sick.

    Very happy he didn’t go to TFC.


  • Beto

    The turf in vancouver and the road games in seattle and portland would have been the worst for boca’s career. Second div España sounds just about perfect; glad to hear him back on the field soon. At this point we need all CB options ready to go for February.


  • Iggy

    Am I the only one hoping that JK would have been forced to look elsewhere for the Honduras game? Boca is still probably the safest bet if fit. Guess OG or someone else really needs to impress to unseat him.

    On another topic, I wonder how players feel about playing Real Madrid’s reserve team in league play. I know they are awesome, but just has a weird feel.


  • Yazan

    Yeah when the USA captain comes back to play in the league, I would prefer he was playing for an American team. No offense Canada


  • David St. Hubbins

    he was going downhill fast even before the injury. spanish second division is killing his form.


    • Bobb

      What? We have no CB replacement (yet) and you want to get rid of him? Wait for someone else to appear first. And even then, he probably makes the World Cup roster as a bench player.


  • Bobb

    Best line:
    “Bocanegra has enjoyed a smooth transition to life in Spain”

    Oh yeah, settling in to Santander can be really tough, almost as bad as Maui. After the paradise that is Glasgow I’m glad he was able to settle in to a life on the beach, golfing, etc. etc.


  • Dominic

    May get a lot of heat for this, but How about LA sells Omar Gonzalez in the summer, and they bring in Bocanegra as a replacement? He’s from Southern California and knows Bruce Arena.


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