The future remains bright for an up-and-coming U.S.-eligible defender.
Danny Potts, 17, put pen to paper Friday on a two-and-a-half year deal that will keep him at West Ham through the 2013-2014 season. Potts, whose father was born in the United States and played for West Ham, is eligible to play for both England and the United States.
Potts is the captain for West Ham's U-18 team and can play either left back or in central defense. He took part in a U.S. Under-20 camp last spring, and although he has yet to feature for West Ham's first team, he has been included on the initial 20-man roster for West Ham's match against Barnsley this weekend.
The move could pay off in a big way for Potts and his Premier League aspirations. Looking down the road, West Ham is currently in position to reclaim a place in the top flight, as it sits three points behind Southampton for first place place in the League Championship.
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LICHAJ NEARING RETURN
It's been almost four months since U.S. defender Eric Lichaj last played a competitive match, but his road to recovery is nearing its completion.
Lichaj, who had hip surgery in the fall, has returned to light training and is expected to rejoin his first-team teammates at Aston Villa following the turn of the new year.
"He's getting stronger every day, and it's great to see him out on the training field every day, not with us, but with the physios," Villa assistant Peter Grant told Sky Sports. "So hopefully it will be the turn of the year when he comes back and he'll be fully fit."
For Lichaj, the timing couldn't be better, as he'll either be poised for a loan move to secure regular playing time as the winter transfer window opens, or he'll fight for first-team minutes at Villa. Leeds United, where Lichaj played on loan last year, was publicly interested in re-acquiring his services before the injury put him out of action.
He has made one appearance for Villa this season, starting and scoring a goal in a Carling Cup match against Hereford United on Aug. 23.
CROPPER OUT WITH KNEE INJURY
With Fulham recalling on-loan goalkeeper David Stockdale from Ipwsich Town, it seemed to pave the way for U.S. Under-20 goalkeeper Cody Cropper to receive the lion's share of backup duties at the very least. Unfortunately for Cropper, that window for that opportunity has slammed shut.
Cropper injured his knee in training and is set for several months on the sideline, according to reports from England. Cropper, 18, appeared on the bench for one of Ipswich Town's games this season.
Excited about Potts' new deal? Where do you think Lichaj fits in to the national-team picture upon his return? Would you like to see him go on loan again or fight for a place with Aston Villa?
Share your thoughts below.