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Larentowicz training with Bolton


photo by Nick Turchiaro/

Jeff Larentowicz has become the latest player to heed Jurgen Klinsmann's advice.

Larentowicz has joined English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers for a training stint during the MLS offseason, joining the long list of domestic-based U.S. men's national team players to train abroad.

The 28-year-old Colorado Rapids midfielder played twice under Klinsmann in September and was included on the U.S. roster for the October friendlies, but he was not called into the November camp.

What do you think of Larentowicz training with Bolton? Think he deserves another look with the U.S. men's national team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “He is not a player w/ the typical ‘American soccer virtues’.”

    If you believe that then you haven’t been watching him at Bolton. Perhaps you don’t really understand what the Brits regard as “typical American player virtues”. Google David Moyes and search for any interview where he talks about why he likes Landon.

    Holden is skilled but so is most everyone in the EPL. It takes a lot more than skill to do what he has done so quickly. Without his “typical American soccer virtues” he never would have made it. And if you read my post you will note I mentioned him being born over there helped ease any culture shock most Americans might have had.

    The comparison of JL to Holden is about their situations not their relative ability as players; being American players evaluated by the same guy for the same club.

    If Coyle does evaluate JL for possible transfer then JL is lucky because he will have the favorable impression Stu made going for him. Fair or not national stereotypes do exist in football despite what Sepp Blatter says.

  2. joel,

    What you want from that position is dependability and solidity.

    Jones is the logical competition for Beckerman but it is only recently that he he started to play well for Schalke so give that contest time.

    Of course if they really wanted to Mo and MB could settle down and do a better job than Beckerman. But,based on their US careers so far they aren’t that much into it.

    Besides MB and Mo can be much more useful elsewhere on the field whereas Kyle can only play one position.

    The complaint I always heard about BB was he was trying to put square pegs into round holes.

    Defensive midfielder fits Beckerman perfectly but it would be a waste to put MB and Edu there.

  3. TomG,

    If you lined up all the US midfielders and made them do a 5-10 yard dash, I don’t know where Beckerman would finish but I’m not sure it matters.

    “I know everyone says he’s slow, and at times, he certainly seems to drag, but other times he is very quick to the ball.”

    That is a good observation and it might be explained by the fact that “speed” in defenders is often very dependent on how well they “read” the game.

    If you look at the last World Cup there were a lot of teams with 30+ year old defenders. Many of them are partnered with younger, speedier guys ( which is why there is an ongoing search for a “speed” guy at center back) but they also use their experience and save themselves a step or two by reading the situation, figuring what is coming and getting there before anyone else.

    So despite his age it is possible Beckerman could improve as he gets more comfortable with his US teamates and the defense they play. Beckerman’s role, it seems to me, is to serve as what Eric Cantona derisively once called a water carrier i.e. someone who does the dirty work. You don’t necessarly need a lot of speed and skill to do the job. You mostly need to be what Beckerman is, hard working, without ego, persistent, disciplined and very self contained.

    Bradley for example is a superior player but what everyone has always complained about with Michael is he has no positional discipline and loves to roam all over. This is exactly what you do not want from someone who plays that position. Besides Michael is more useful elsewhere.

    For me the most obvious rival for Kyle is Jones.

  4. i agree with your points, he does what is asked of him well but in that role jones or bradley in my opinion can do it better plus there passing, speed, and defensive skills are better than beckermn but they havent been given the opportunity in those roles under Klinsmann.

  5. Dude, in MLS Holden was already one of the most skilled players in the league. He is not a player w/ the typical ‘American soccer virtues’. You will note he was born in Scotland, for instance. If you watched him in his MLS days, you would’ve noticed a player w/ technique and a soccer brain that is rare among American players. Not to mention he can really strike a ball.

    When Stu moved to the PL when he was 25 – at that point, the player is already who he is. And Stu was a fantastic player already.

    Anyway, I like JL (good MLS player), but he’s not even close to Holden – the comparison is not valid.

  6. Until 2009 Larentowicz made about 34K per year. Then he moved to Colorado won a Championship and now makes in the region of 150 k per year.

    He has played 175 games for the Revs and the Rapids combined, and has a total of 20 MLS goals. He has 2 caps.

    If you ignore the fact that he was very poorly paid for the first four years of his career, he has done quite well.

  7. “among our most skilled players…..his first touch is as good as any player as is his vision.”

    Are you talking MLS players, American players or soccer players in general?

    I agree that Holden is a very skilled player. But that is not the only or even the main reason he has been successful in the EPL to this point.

  8. Sure.

    Why not?

    It’s Bolton and both guys came from MLS.

    Both were marginal USMNT midfielders.

    And the guy evaluating them is the same guy, Owen Coyle.

  9. No, Holden was always among our most skilled players. He just always battled with form and fitness because of injury issues. He and Altidore are our best pure ball strikers, his first touch is as good as any player as is his vision.

  10. You know, no matter what happens with this training stint, the guy’s had a pretty good career for someone who was the 45th pick in the 2005 _Supplemental_ draft.

  11. gfox,

    There are other guys in MLS ( Freddy Adu) equally if not more skilled.

    Holden’s skill and character helped but that alone did not make him successful at Bolton.

    Holden found the perfect storm.

    He was originally born there so he did not have the culture shock issues that a guy like

    Jozy might have had at Villareal.

    He found a manager who believed in him and a club who needed a player with his skill set,character and abilities.

    Jozy, Adu, and all our other overseas players would have killed for that.

  12. Mo’s inconsistent US performances predate JK. He was all over the place in the Bradley era.

    People love to blame the manager; I blame Mo. I don’t doubt Mo could be the best defensive midfielder but that would be a waste.

    Mo is talented enough to play almost anyhwere on the field at a high level.

    Every good international team needs a versatile guy like that because World Cup tournaments are long and brutal. Roster spots are precious. He could be our Darren Fletcher,Michael Essien or Owen Hargreaves.

    Beckerman is far less talented but is pretty conistent in terms of his performance.

    However much better Mo would be JK seems to be willing to live with the deficit in exchange for consistency. And the possibility that Mo could become the US’ “floater”

    USMNT fans love to forget it is an 11 man game.

    USMNT fans love to have scapegoats; since JK took over the team seems to be heading in the right direction. However,there are a few things that need to be corrected so Beckerman must be the main reason anything is wrong and he is elected to be the new Bornstein/ Sacha/Rico Clark/Conor Casey/ Brian Ching.

    There always has to be a whipping boy.

  13. +1

    partly because fanzines like this need something to write about

    an off-season training stint is turned into “Bolton boss Owen Coyle has flown in USA international Jeff Larentowicz for a trial – after a tip-off from Jurgen Klinsmann.”

    I don’t think so

  14. Personally, I’m not whining about Gonzalez. As a Houston fan, I certainly didn’t want Cameron pulled away from the squad in the middle of the run up to the Cup final.

    If you’ll read my last post more carefully, I distinctly included the words “post-MLS Cup” (even though I left a little grammatical typo right before them).

  15. Ok… my bad on not reading the linked article regarding the Klinsmann influence.

    Otherwise, my point still stands.

    BTW… GW, you need to find another target for an unfounded personal vendetta. There are plenty of other targets for you to vent your pent-up sexual frustration upon.

  16. that’s a really good point. basically Edu is the most talented but Beckerman, Lawrentowicz et al are reliable performers who do the job (sometimes) better than Edu.

  17. It’s very possible mo is our best #6 and JK didn’t use him there because he was experimenting with him higher up the field.

    Beckerman started five of JK’s seven games at DM. In the other two, edu started there instead and we still didn’t concede early goals.

    When mo wasn’t the #6, he was playing woefully out of position and he looked it. You can’t draw any meaningful conclusions comparing out of position edu with optimal position beckerman.

    What i don’t get is the panic a lot of fans have over beckerman playing. If the gap in quality between edu/jones/williams and beckerman is large enough, we’ll see the change eventually.

  18. For those of you whining about Cameron and Gonzalez not being called up isn’t it interesting how those two are so heavily involved in the playoffs and now the final?

  19. Do you think Bolton saw Holden as some sort of super skilled midfielder?

    I doubt that. They liked him because he had all the so called “American soccer player virtues”.

    He was “honest”, never gave up, followed directions, always fought to the end, was professional as all get out, kept his nose to the grindstone, kept his mouth shut and was in fantastic shape and could run all day. He and Donovan were usually one and two in terms of fitness for the US team.

    And as beloved as Stu is I’m willing to bet that if they were honest, most US fans did not anticipate Holden having such success so soon.

    I haven’t seen enough of Larentowicz to know if he has all those qualities but it’s not just about skill. If you think that just because a player is in MLS because he does not have the skill for the EPL then you probably believe everything is cheaper at Wal Mart.

    The point is, while it is very unlikely this trial will be anything more than that(for one thing, he probably could not get a work permit for England) the truth is you never know and Jeff Larentowicz has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  20. People associate “training” with “trial” because they ARE associated. Or are you suggesting that, if over the course of Larentowicz’s training Bolton decide they want to sign him, they will be unable to, because someone refered to this as only “training”.

    “Training” and “trial” is all somantics. They will be looking at him. If they want to sign him, they will try to even if he’s officially only “training”. Likewise, if he was officially on a trial, and did not perform well, they would not try and sign him.


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