Monday Morning Centerback: The Talent Hunt

Monday Morning Centerback: The Talent Hunt

Major League Soccer

Monday Morning Centerback: The Talent Hunt


Good morning everybody. The New Year began last week, but this is the first real serious week of business in the American soccer world.

Consider everything going on this week:

  • Potential European transfers of Brad Guzan and Eddie Johnson
  • U.S. national team camp
  • U.S. Under-23 national team camp
  • MLS Combine
  • Chicago Fire coaching decision

Between all of this AND the crazy European transfer market activity, there should be tons of news to discuss today and the rest of the week.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these subjects:

Potential transfers for Guzan and Johnson


Brad Guzan has been linked to Celtic, Olympiakos and Arsenal while Eddie Johnson has been tied to Reading, Derby, Fulham and most recently Benfica.

Johnson’s departure has been expected for some time, but you have to wonder how Chivas USA would handle the loss of Brad Guzan, particularly after trading away backup goalkeeper Preston Burpo.

That won’t be of concern to Guzan, who is reaping the rewards of a strong MLS season as well as impressive showing on the Generation adidas tour of Spain, where he enjoyed an inspired performance against Real Madrid’s reserves. There were apparently quite a few scouts in attendance for that match, which has only helped boost the interest in Guzan.

U.S. national team camp


Bob Bradley is putting his MLS-heavy group of players through their paces in rain-soaked California and these next few weeks should be telling for several national team hopefuls. You have Jozy Altidore, Chris Rolfe, Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Eddie Robinson, Drew Moor, Matt Pickens and Zack Wells as some of the more intriguing players to watch in camp. The real playing should start this week and the best place to follow along with the camp is

U.S. Under-23 national team camp

The MLS Combine doesn’t officially begin until Saturday but there will be an informal combine going on at the U-23 national team camp. Several MLS coaches will attend training sessions for Peter Nowak’s team in an attempt to get a better sense of where some top MLS draft prospects stand. Julian Valentin, Eric Avila, Stephen King and Pat Phelan will draw some strong attention from MLS coaches looking for a quality first-round option.

MLS Combine

College seniors and a select number of underclassmen will converge on Ft. Lauderdale to show their stuff to MLS clubs this weekend. Yes, the current scouting system is flawed, and it is a shame on some levels that draft value can hinge so much on a few scrimmages, but this is where decisions are made by MLS teams looking for the next Clint Dempsey or Jozy Altidore.

SBI will be in Ft. Lauderdale for all the festivities and will look to keep you fully informed of all the action and behind the scenes activities in the former home of the Miami Fusion.

Chicago Fire coaching decision

We should find out either today or tomorrow who the fourth head coach in Chicago Fire history will be. Denis Hamlett and Mike Jeffries are the strong candidates while John Spencer’s candidacy has picked up steam. As soon as I find out who the choice is I will pass it along.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more news and analysis throughout the day.

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