By ADAM SERRANO
A year ago, Alejandro Bedoya was a college standout making the difficult choice of heading to Europe to try and find success rather than staying in the United States and signing with MLS.
While other Americans have seen that decision not work out, Bedoya's first year in Europe has been a successful one, with the evidence of that success coming in the form of a U.S. national team call-up he admits he didn't see coming.
When the U.S. national team opened its January training camp earlier this week, Bedoya was one of the new faces taking it all in. A 22-year-old left winger who earned a starting role with Swedish club Orebro SK in his first season as a pro, Bedoya is a rookie all over again, with U.S. head coach Bob Bradley casting a watchful eye as he searches for players who could potentially make the U.S. World Cup roster.
“This is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do and learn from this experience,” Bedoya said after training on Wednesday. “Hopefully, I can impress the coaches for the future and see if I can fit in."
The January camp is the second time the midfielder has been chosen for a U.S. national squad, having been selected to the initial roster ahead of the Beijing Olympics. However, Bedoya was not among the 23 who ultimately traveled to China. Despite being chosen for this camp, the former Boston College product admitted his surprise upon receiving a call up to the United States national team.
“I hadn't heard anything about the full men's team at all,” said Bedoya. “I wasn't expecting this. I hadn't heard anything through rumors or anything that I would get a call (to the national team).”
As one of the rare natural left wingers in the U.S. pool Bedoya will have every chance to play himself into a prominent role on the U.S. team, though he is fully aware of the competition he will be facing as he tries to establish himself.
“Right now, the team has plenty of midfielders, but I think my two way skills in attack and defense can be very helpful to the squad in terms of being able to contribute offensively,” Bedoya said.
Whether or not Bedoya manages to earn his first international cap when the U.S. team faces Honduras on January 23 at Home Depot Center in Carson, the Orebro midfielder is enjoying the experience and will be looking to benefit from the veteran midfielders he is competing with.
“I’m very interested in learning from the midfielders who have been here before,” Bedoya said. "I look to guys like Sacha (Kljestan), Benny (Feilhaber) and Robbie (Rogers) to compare experiences and to bring my ability to their level. I feel that if I can bring my level to that of those who have been here before, then I can contribute.”