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Agudelo has work permit appeal rejected again, leaving him a free agent heading into summer

Juan Agudelo FC Utrecht (Getty Images)


Juan Agudelo signed a lucrative contract with Stoke City in January that was supposed to help him realize his dream of playing in one of the best league’s in the world. When he had his work permit appeal denied, Agudelo went on loan to Dutch side FC Utrecht with the hope being that a good stint there would be enough to improve his chances of securing that all-important work permit.

It wasn’t enough.

Agudelo had his work permit appeal rejected for a second straight time, leaving him in limbo. As reported on, Friday’s rejected work permit appeal voided his contract with Stoke City, making him a free agent heading into the summer.

The work permit rejection comes after Agudelo posted three goals and three assists for FC Utrecht in 14 matches, solid production, but not enough to sway the appeal panel.

Also working against Agudelo was the fact that the English Football Association had stated just a day before his work permit appeal that the work permit appeal process would become more stringent in an effort to help domestic players have more opportunities in the Premier League.

What do you think of this development? Where would you like to see Agudelo go next? Think it might be a blessing in disguise that he doesn’t join Stoke, or do you think he would have thrived with the Potters?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. So if say NYCFC, who have USMNT allocation #1 or 2 pick want Agudelo, would they have to deal with NE Revs for his rights?

  2. He has better options in Europe than the island. It’s much easier to get the residence and work permit in Europe than England.

  3. Klinsmann’s fault. Juan should have been playing instead of guys like Wondo or EJ. International profile makes foreign players more desirable.

    Too bad Juan is just a plain ol’ American and not a European.

  4. Not worried. I think he is going to have plenty of suitors this summer. 21 year old striker that has high potential, showed well in Holland, and is on a free transfer? Yeah I think there will be plenty of teams looking at him this summer from the Bundesliga, la Liga, Serie A, Ligue1, and Eredivisie. And who knows he may make the USMNT WC team. A good showing this summer, and he will be a hot commodity.

    • Juan’s problem is that you aren’t the one buying his contract.

      There are a lot of players w/o his work permit issues and with his ability that are younger and cheaper.

      I’m sure he’ll be fine but it’s not as easy as you make it sound.

    • I think he’s probably more at the France/Turkey/Portugal level. Not much chance he gets looks from any top 4 leagues. La Liga already took a sniff at him and decided to pass.

      • Makes complete sense.

        Rand Paul is a strongly nationalistic isolationist–ergo he believes that the country should solely promote internally and that it should cut off interactions with other nations.

        Like soccer is becoming in the UK.

  5. Too bad for Juan’s bank acount but as someone hoping to see him in the USMNT again Im happy.

    Dutch League > Stoke’s bench.

    A 21 year old striker with his résumé and a free transfer will have no problem finding a better gig. Stoke sounded like a bad idea from the first second; there is a world of other leagues besides the EPL.

    • I agree in principle, but will point out that Stoke has three openings at striker coming up. Crouch, Odemwingie, & Walters are getting getting up there in age and will both be phased out in the next 24-months. In the pipe, they have one upper-20s striker on loan at Crystal Palace and Shea who doesn’t look like he will pan out. So I think Agudelo still has a future value for Stoke City. But I think his future would be best served elsewhere. I’m hoping for the Netherlands or Italy.

  6. So if Aguedelo, despite playing 14 matches in the Erdivisie and making a good showing from nothing is NOT enough to get a work permit for Stoke, then Shea won’t by a long shot. I mean, getting recalled from a Championship team that you only scored once in a friendly, is much poorer than 3 goals, 3 assists, in 14 matches.

    • his time at utrecth probably has nothing to do with the work permit process, the fact that he’s not really a USA player any more was, I am sure, far more influential, honestly im not sure why Stoke thought they could win the work permit appeal, Agudelo is nowhere near the number of games played for the USA recently as he would need to be to get the permit.

    • Shea already has a work permit, which he had to get through appeal.

      The FA has pretty strict guidelines for non-EU players. Basically, they have to play in >75% of A-level (i.e. official FIFA tournament) national team matches over the previous 2 years.

      The general rule for getting an exception is if the player has only recently broken into a national team but is playing a lot. This was true for Shea AT THE TIME he got his work permit. Also, you can get around this requirement by being an “exceptional talent.”

      Juan has only 2 USMNT appearances (both friendlies, and thus not A-level) since 2012. He may make the pre-WC roster, but isn’t looking likely to go to Brazil.

      Going to Utrecht didn’t do anything about Juan’s USMNT status. If he had scored 10 goals or something, however, he might have had a case for “exceptional talent.” Unfortunately, he only bagged 3.

    • Nbc is just disapointed in the whole epl thing..
      Dempsey left, Shea, Jozy and Edu were busts, Agudelo never made it…
      Americans arnt tuning in to watch goalkeepers

      • At least 2 of the 4 goalkeepers to have scored goals for their team in the EPL are Americans!! And when Timmy Howard got his goal, he was on goal-scoring level with $60million world-cup winner Fernando Torres!! Yes, American goal-keepers are Übermenschen.

    • Agudelo started with a spark, hit a several month lull, and then looked good in his last few matches. He started MOST but not all of the games, especially during the lull. For a while he was trying too hard to impress and was taking on players rather than making smart passes. The one full game I watched (early on during his loan), he and his teammates were expressing visible displeasure with each other and their poor choices.
      He did score 3 goals and had 2 assists in 14 matches…not an amazing strike rate, but he was also on a much worse team than Jozy & Johannsson.

      His performance picked up near the end of the season. I’m sure he’ll have plenty of suitors in Europe…just not in England. I think he’ll certainly have opportunities in Holland, France, and lower-mid table Spanish clubs (Valencia was reportedly interested at one point).

  7. Dear Commissioner Garber,….it’s called a “re-patriation program.” Agudelo, Shea, Klestjian, Ream, Johannsen, Johnson, Williams, Beasley, etc.

    • Agudelo just left MLS after playing on one of the worst pitches in the league (admittedly a fun team, though). He’ll have plenty of European suitors, especially after picking it up at the end of the season for Utrecht.

      I think Shea gets 1 more half season to prove his worth. He was doing well in preseason before getting injured, and then his off the field (and lower level) hijinks tanked his season.

      Kljestan will be in MLS during the summer transfer window (or sooner if his contract is up).

      Ream is likely to move up to the EPL next season. Even if he stays at Bolton, he’s sitting pretty for a while now after a stellar season.

      Johannsson, despite flagging a bit at the end of the season, isn’t coming to MLS any time soon. He did score a crap ton of goals this season, even if most were before this last month or 2.

      Fabian Johnson is going to Moenchengladbach…he won’t be in MLS any time soon.

      Danny Williams has committed his long-term future to Reading.

      Beasley has publicly expressed a desire to come to MLS after the WC.

      • I’m not missing the point.

        The money’s not there in most markets, and the ones that can afford them are full up on DPs.

      • BrianK,

        “MLS should proactively re-patriate these players to MLS.”

        Why should they ?

        It is cheaper to develop younger talent

        MLS does not exist to provide a haven for USMNT players when they need it.

        Just because Deuce and Bradley make stupid money , it doesn’t mean that kind of money is there for every other USMNT player, most of whom have nothing like the kind of profile that Deuce, Mikey and Landon have.

        No one in America outside of SBI knows who Gooch, Sacha ,Dolo or Holden or Eric Lichaj they aren’t worth the kind of money they probably make in Europe.

  8. You have to wonder if Stoke pushed for the 2nd appeal to get out of the contract. They were paying EPL wages for a player that wasn’t likely to be available to them for a year or two. Otherwise, they would have waited until they were more certain that he would qualify for the WP.

      • How does the appeal process work? They were forced to make the appeal this soon? I don’t know about that stuff, but it seems like a good theory to me. The FA has already come out and told everybody they are trying promote development of English players in the league. Agudelo isn’t close to a regular starter on the USMNT, and doesn’t possess dual citizenship. With AJ and Boyd ahead of him at this point, and given that he didn’t do that great in the Eredivisie, there’s a decent chance he never gets that WP. It would seem prudent for Stoke to press the appeal and void the contract sooner than later.

      • 3 goals and 3 assists in 14 games, while acclimating to a different culture and country, is a pretty good showing in my book.

      • I agree, but I think he needed to have a GREAT run of performances to get that WP. Had he averaged close to a goal per game, it would make it much tougher for the FA to deny him.

      • I didn’t say one per game. Also, I didn’t say it was fair or realistic. Simply that he would have had to do something special in the Dutch league if he was going to have any chance of getting a work permit from the FA, given his NT standing.

      • Most of us know that, and I give Joe+G the benefit of the doubt, it may have slipped his mind. I still would like to know exactly why Stoke appealed again so quickly, when there is still a small chance Agudelo could make the WC squad and do something. Did they have to file the appeal within a certain time period, was it part of the loan agreement? Is there some benefit to not having him on contract, like opening up a roster spot for another non-domestic player who can contribute sooner?

      • Stoke doesn’t make the rules regarding appeal. The FA puts the work into the approval process for a work permit. The do the research, gather the videos, take notes, pick out certain points that highlight special talents or shortcomings. If you were on a committee, did the work and research, come to a decision subject to an appeal: Well when do you want the appeal to be made? Promptly while your work notes, memory, and considerations are still fresh. You try leaving something for 6-months; move on to something else, only to have that work interrupted because Stoke City didn’t WANT to appeal the decision when it was made, but decided to appeal it after 6-months.

        That’s why they had to appeal when they did. All appeals have to made promptly. That and Stoke’s money-bag didn’t have enough weight in it to be laden with gold, so they didn’t get any extensions.

      • That’s not always how a loan works. Very often the parent club continues to cover a portion of the player’s wages because the team he is loaned to typically couldn’t afford him otherwise.

        Unless you know the details of Juan’s loan, I wouldn’t rule out salary burden as the reason Stoke wanted to cut him loose.

  9. Not a bad thing, Aguedolo could stay in the Dutch league and start chemistry with Rubio, or go other league like Ligue 1, Portuguese, Serie A or la Liga for extra polishing and important expierence. EPL is over-rated, anyway.

  10. Come back to the Revs….We WANT YOU BACK

    The secret to getting an EPL permit is tp get more caps. JK can fix that, he’s done it for others

    • If Stoke had any sense, they would have waited to see if Agudelo made the WC roster before filing their appeal.

      To give them a bit of credit, they may already had word from JK that he would make the 30-man pre-WC roster. Even if Agudelo makes the 23, I’d still have waited until after the WC.

      • That is the part that surprises me most about this. Did they not have the ability to wait to file the appeal?

      • My guess is Juan is not the only business Stoke has on their agenda.

        My guess is if Juan is not on the team then they need to sign a replacement and that stuff does not wait around..

        If making the final 23 would have changed the Permit board’s mind don’t you think Stoke would have waited? My guess is they were told it wold not have made any difference.

  11. I think this will be better for him. I really didn’t imagine him playing at Stoke.
    Personally, the EPL is my favorite league. It has more parity and typically has better title chases than the other elite leagues, but why do our players keep going there? We have tons of unsuccessful or underwhelming experiences that lead to players stalling their careers until the next move.
    We seem averse to France, Italy, and Spain, even though it is probably easier to find playing time on their low and mid level clubs.

    • +1. I watch religiously as well, but it isn’t a good destination for developing talent, at all…. Much as I love watching our guys, I’d advocate that USMNT prospects look basically anywhere else.

    • PARITY??? Basically the same four teams are in the title chase every year with one or two others in there on the rare occasion. The rest are just battling for the scraps and to avoid relegation.

      The top teams give you good quality football, but I would not say there is PARITY

      • I believe he wrote “more parity.” Can you point to a league that shows more title contenders every year than the EPL?

      • The “parity” that the EPL has right now is a recent thing, pretty much brought about by Man City’s new owners bringing that team to the party. Before that it was only a 2 horse race (Man U or Chelsea, and before Chelsea got their rich owner it was Man U or Arsenal) and it would pretty much be decided by Christmas (nobody but the top 2 teams could handle the number of games played those two weeks and the gap at that point would make the title race finished). Other leagues would have a greater number of teams finishing in first place and tighter races (Italy, Germany, and even Spain before the last 5 years when Barca started going on a tear with Pep in charge and RM countered with their superstar purchases of CR and others).

      • Statistics say otherwise.
        Barca and Real Madrid double the championships as the rest of the Spanish teams combined. They also have more second place finishes than the rest of the league combined.

        Check Juve and Bayern’s records as well. The EPL has always had it’s big four, with Man City now jumping in. There are five teams that can realistically win the league with one or two key purchases every year. Teams run through roughly five year spurts but the underlying parity is there.

      • I suppose we can argue about how to define competitiveness of a league (and on what we refer to as recent). Lately (with big money owners buying Man City and Cheslea) the EPL has been tighter, while La Liga in comparison has been a league where two teams just run away with the race, but go back a few years and it was the reverse (at least as one would watch the league progress over the season). The point difference between the team in first place and the team in 4th place for instance back in 2008 (when Guardiola started coaching Barca and La Liga got ridiculous) for the EPL was 11, while in La Liga was 21. In 2007 for the EPL it was 21 while for La Liga it was 10. In 2006 it was 26 for the EPL and 14 for La Liga. In 2005 EPL 34, La Liga 22. In 2004 EPL 40, La Liga 7. In 2003 EPL 16, La Liga 17 (close, but bigger in La Liga this year). In 2002 EPL 16, La Liga 9. In 2001 EPL 12, La Liga 10. In 2000 EPL 24, La Liga 6. Over these years the gap in the table generally a lot larger in the EPL than in La Liga, so La Liga generally had tighter races. Further, how the seasons would play out, as I said before, those gaps in the EPL pretty much would happen during the Christmas period when the EPL would have the extra midweek games and only the top one or two teams would have squads that could handle the games coming at them so quickly, so the season pretty much would be decided at that halfway point. The team at the top would basically just coast the rest of the way through the season. Back then there was not much of a reason to watch the 2nd half of the season.

      • Also, the EPL has had four different champions and five different runners up in the last 10 years. Compare that to Germany and Spain and tell me the results. Italy might slightly differ because Juventus got demoted, but I doubt it will differ by much.

      • Can’t really say that Italy is different because Juve got demoted because if you take it from before Juve got demoted, the 10 years before in Serie A there were 4 different teams that won the league and 5 different teams that were runners up. Heck, in the 5 years before Juve got demoted there were 4 different teams that won the league and 4 different teams that were runners up. And that Chelsea and Man City are in the game at all now is due to their recently being purchased by big money owners. Man City and Chelsea weren’t anywhere close to the top of the table for years before then (and the EPL was just a 2 horse race between Arsenal and Man U).

      • Oh, and you wanted the numbers for Germany as well? Past 10 years, 4 different league winners and 5 different teams runners up.

    • “but why do our players keep going there? ”

      I am assuming you are an American. Have you ever tried to move to a foreign country fro a few years and work?

      Adjusting on the field is tough enough. Cultural adjustment off the field can be a deal breaker for many people.

      I would say the UK is popular with US players because of the lure of the EPL and :

      Money :

      • All good points except Agudelo Colombian. So he shouldn’t have a problem adapting in La Liga

      • Except there is a prejudice against American players in La Liga, based on the few who have ever played there failing to impress.

      • I notice Jozy did real well in Spain.

        As for Rossi, he speaks Italian and transitioning from Italian to Spanish takes about 5 minutes.

        Plus he moved to Spain from Italy and that is not as big a transition as what Jozy faced.

        Finally, Rossi was on fire eventually scoring a goal every 2.3 games for Villarreal. Transitions go easier when you are doing really well on the field.

      • Cylo,

        My guess is Juan went with Stoke because they wanted him more than the other guy.

        Has anyone from La Liga been harassing Juan’s agent begging him to come to La Liga? My god, this is so unusual,an American international who speaks Spanish?

        OMG Barca and Real Madrid will kill each other fighting for his signature.

        I’m sure that IF a team from La Liga contacts Juan’s agent he will talk to them.

      • Valencia was interested in him before he went to Utrecht on loan, and they’re a perennially top team (the year excepted).

      • “Valencia was interested in him :”

        What exactly does that mean?

        So interested they let Stoke sign him.

        These are unreliable rumours you read in the tabloids over there very 5 minutes. It’s garbage until proven otherwise, the kind of diversionary crap agents spread to drum up interest in their clients. .

  12. England is such a joke. The FA consists of a bunch of half-wit inbreds, most of whom have some sort of “Lordship”… At any given time their biggest line-item expense is “Payouts to Previous Managers”, which is a significant, self-replenishing 8 figure sum encompassing the previous 1-3 whiffs, plus the 6.5 billion they will be slowly repaying Sven will into the next Ice Age.

    They now have it in their heads that they will win the WC by 2022 (nevermind that they may actually have an under-the-radar good team this summer). These twits have a brilliant idea, which basically involves copying everything Spain does verbatim, without acknowledging it overtly, and with no recogition of how unsuited it is to their existing system or general culture.”Let’s exclude non-EU players” is the newest hare-brained hypothesis. Fine w me. League hasn’t done much for us frankly. And our GK’s will be fine.

    I’m half English myself but nonsense like this makes me very happy that I am full-blooded USMNT when it comes to footsoccer.

    • Word. And their idea of putting B teams in the lower divisions, while letting clubs who loan players dictate training and management strategy to the clubs they are loaned to, is insulting to the smaller clubs and will mess up the best open pyriamid league structure on the planet.

      A lame, closed league “franchise” system can’t be far off. They should just hire some ex-NFL guy like Don Garber to run things and get it all over with…

      • you should research reaction to the creation of MK Dons if you think franchises are “not far off”

      • They were relegated long before they became MK Dons. MK is a weird situation since it’s a completely made up town and so didn’t have a football club come into existence organically like most other areas and towns in England.

      • Their trend towards isolationist policy won’t help their national team.

        Did they do significantly better in the Euros and World Cup during the 70s and 80s when the domestic league was stacked with English players?

        It’s a world market now. English players can get experience in various levels of pro league play throughout the globe.

      • trend? is a law, and has been for some time. frankly most English I know would prefer fewer international players in their top league, more often than not its seen as hindering their national team success, much like Mexico.

      • Yes, they recently decided this week to consider league rules that would ban all non-EU players below the Premier League and place further restrictions on non-EU players generally. They can’t restrict EU players because of freedom of movement for workers within the EU but England is currently convinced that too many foreigners is the reason their national team is sorry.

        Personally I think that’s short-sighted and foolish for the most part but it looks like Juan will have to go somewhere else in Europe. I’m sure there’ll be takers. If he goes to Brazil and makes an impact that would help.

      • I see can see this in like… League 2 and maybe league 1 but its pure madness in the championship.

        English players don’t leave but at least now the foreign style and ideas come to them. That won’t happen with a law like this…

      • Motorhead, solles and SLA,

        “Did they do significantly better in the Euros and World Cup during the 70s and 80s when the domestic league was stacked with English players?”

        Stacked? That’s a crock. Back then the dominant players were foreigners, Scots, Irish and Welsh. Those countries used to produce large quantities of top class players but they don’t anymore.

        For example, Kenny Dalglish was Scottish and Ian Rush was Welsh; just go down the team rosters and you will find that without these “foreigners” who were not eligible for England, the great Liverpool teams for example, might not have been anywhere near as dominant.

        This is a misguided solution to the England team’s lack of potency.

        Go back over their last three, four or five World Cup rosters and you will find that while they may not have the level of “World Class” dominant talent associated with a Germany for example, they have enough talent to be a contender. Just look at Southampton’s English mafia. Hodgson has some very good talent already.

        The problem is the England team set up is a poor second cousin to the Premier League who rules everything. And their brutal schedule pounds all these guys into dust with the left overs eventually turning up for national team duty. Just go back and look at how many times England’s hopes have been torpedoed by injuries.

        Whatever problems JK may have had with getting his players together and getting what he thinks he needs for his team, they pale in comparison to the problems the England manager has.

        The idea of building a team, a unit to take on other teams seems to be foreign to the English FA. The English think that the only solution to beating Germany or Spain is put up eleven players who are man for man more talented than their eleven.

        Teamwork? Tactics? Hah!

        In 2013, A WC qualifying year England played 12 games, the USMNT played 23. Granted that many of the England players play on teams with similar schemes and many even are on the same team.

        And of course the US has their Euro lineup and their MLS lineup so they need more games to get everyone in, England would still benefit from being able to get together more often.

        The current English talent pool is deeper and more skilled than any group I have seen. I think this proposed exclusion policy will wind up backfiring on the FA.

      • Only 12 games? They don’t even have to travel… I don’t see why they can’t play more… They clearly need just the experience of being together.

      • There are 500 mil people in the EU. France and Portugal give out citizenship like candy. Banning everybody else is just spiteful. And peeing into the wind.

      • Of course, MLS has, in effect, even stricter limits, as you can only have 8 foreign players per club (on average).

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