Americans Abroad

O'Brien signs with Austrian side Weiner Neustadt

Conor O'Brien (Odense BK)


It didn’t take long for Conor O’Brien to land back on his feet.

Just a day after mutually terminating his contract with Danish side Odense BK, O’Brien signed a one-year contract with Austrian Bundesliga side SC Wiener Neustadt. The deal makes O’Brien the first and so far only foreigner signed to the club for this season, which is already underway.

The 25-year-old midfielder is now on to his fifth European club since signing with Danish club Blokhus FC in 2010 after graduating from Bucknell University. O’Brien moved to SønderjyskE for the 2011/2012 season and then spent half a season with FC Nordsjælland before joining Odense BK in mid-2013.

O’Brien joins a club that finished in eighth place in the ten team Austrian Bundesliga last season and is currently in last place after two defeats in their first two matches. The New York-native is expected to wear the No. 4 and could make his club debut on Saturday at Sturm Graz.


What do you think of this deal? Do you see O’Brien succeeding in Austria? Think that he should have made the jump to a bigger league?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Yevgeniy

    I think it’s a good example why some of these guys would have been better off signing with MLS instead of traveling through “Europe”


    • Yevgeniy

      By the way, I am not saying that he snubbed MLS. Seems like he never had a chance. Just a general statement


      • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper"

        So how exactly would he have been better signing with MLS?

        Did MLS give him a GA deal?
        Guaranteed contract?
        The right to self determine what team he joined?
        Did they offer equal compensation or pay him less than other leagues?

        Why is MLS a better choice?


      • bogie8

        Because in many cases they get a better chance at playing time. They get opportunities to develop and get noticed earlier. They aren’t restricted by not having an EU passport and they can earn decent wages. I totally get why some guys want to go to Europe–it might be their dream, they might want adventure, football at a higher level….but MLS is not a bad option for young players. Example 1 is Andy Najar.


      • PD

        Or he could to make more than 20k a season with the only perks being all the free Gatorade you can drink…


      • slowleftarm

        He probably wasn’t considered good enough for MLS. These aren’t exactly big time teams he’s playing for. Maybe he’d be a fit for someone in MLS but getting a chance to live abroad while getting paid to play soccer isn’t too bad of a way to spend your 20s either.


      • Eric W

        I think about that with a lot of these players too. Like, from a purely personal perspective rather than a what’s-best-for-US-soccer perspective – traveling Europe and getting paid enough to meet some pretty girls doesn’t sound bad to me.


      • The Imperative Voice

        Hmmm. If you look at DeMerit, he wasn’t going to be playing MLS, worked the long way up the ladder — perhaps similar to O’Brien — and made a career and a NT out of it. If he was going to be a MLS camp filler that got cut — or not even get called to camp — why not?

        That being said, once you’ve established your career, it might better sell you and consolidate your gains to come home. If you have aspirations. If you don’t, this might be a more interesting career path than domestic journeyman. But then maybe everyone shouldn’t hold up every Yank Abroad as a would-be call-up, if some of the people are journeyman level people who just prefer being an expat. How many people are there like this, Hill, White, etc., who get that one surprise callup, and then come here and they’re average players?


    • Ali Dia

      How do we know this? How do we know that O’Brien is not overachieving, rather than underachieving? So many of these evaluations of Yanks Abroad (I’m sure I’m guilty too) involve an underlying assumption that the player was exceptionally talented to begin with. What have any of us seen to suggest that O’Brien is really that over-the-top talented? Maybe he is just a B plus talent who has found a way to make a career and a nice income in Europe… Only thing I’m sure of is that we won’t find out via TV while he’s playing in Austria


  • scweeb

    This is why more MLS teams need ASL teams so players have some place to go to get good minutes and no sit playing a maybe reserve game every now and then.


    • Francois

      This dude is a starter on every team he plays on, and will start for Neustadt. He doesn’t sit on the pine too often, but at the end of his Odense stint his form dropped slightly, warranting his limited role.


  • Strider257

    Nobody’s talking $$ (or Austrian schillings) here either. He is probably making more than he would with MLS.


  • Dan


    A nice place to live. Not sure why he’s being criticized for wanting to live and play in a beautiful country.


    • Thomas

      Beat me to it. Wiener-Neustadt is a beautiful area just outside Vienna. Their training facility a glorious facility up on a hillside overlooking the city.


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