MMCB: The improbable case of Anton Peterlin

GoalPoster

You know the script all too well. American soccer player with foreign roots gets a chance of a lifetime and signs with a big English club. It is the basic premise behind the movie "Goal", but it is also the story of California native Anton Peterlin.

A defensive midfielder at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo last fall, Peterlin scored a dream opportunity to train with English club Everton this spring and made the most of it, impressing Everton manager David Moyes enough to earn a contract offer he will sign this summer.

Yes, the legend of Santiago Munez is alive and well.

The story surfaced last week and spread like a legend, leading many (myself included) to wonder if it could really be true, but when Moyes spoke publicly about Everton's move to sign Peterlin, the seeming fairy tale became reality.

Peterlin, 22, wasn't known by many outside of California before emerging as the newest American Abroad. His two goals and three assists over the course of three seasons at Cal Poly-SLO weren't exactly the numbers to catch people's attention, but his time playing with the Ventura County Fusion helped impress the right people and provided him with a chance to train with Everton, the same club that had just last summer made inquiries about signing U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley. Peterlin impressed enough to have Everton offer him a deal, and his Danish passport meant signing wouldn't be a problem.

Now Peterlin is set to join the Toffees this summer when Everton arrives to tour the United States this summe and there is a good chance he will be taking the field when Everton plays the MLS All-Stars this summer. If he does, it will help provide the perfect ending to the first chapter of Peterlin's own version of "Goal: The Movie."

What do you think of this story? Glad to see American players finding such great opportunities overseas? Wishing MLS clubs had the resources to scout the American college and PDL soccer scene well enough to uncover diamonds in the rough like Peterlin? Starting to believe the notion that dozens and dozens more Americans would be playing in Englan if they could secure work permits?

Share your thoughts below.

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68 Responses to MMCB: The improbable case of Anton Peterlin

  1. f4denz says:

    I think this type of story could really help kids in the US understand how playing soccer could translate into a career. I also think it could be a great tool for MLS and RSL to market the All Star match, since so many people are hoo-hum about the Everton selection.

    I think it will be a good match but really hope that Everton win the FA Cup and RSL and MLS can figure out how to market this match better than RSL did last time Everton came to town.

  2. arkjayback says:

    WOW.

    This story could really help market soccer to kids all over this country, as well as another way that MLS should market this match.

  3. KCB says:

    Another quality talent slips into Europe under the MLS radar. Do MLS clubs not have scouts or something? This is something MLS needs to improve on.

  4. KingSnake says:

    Beats 13k / year in MLS …

  5. argo0 says:

    It is a wonderful story, and I hope he succeeds. One point though — according to the article you link to, Peterlin had “previous trials with the San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire.” So MLS clubs knew he existed, but weren’t impressed by him. I don’t know whether Everton signed him when the MLS clubs didn’t because Everton saw something they didn’t, he improved greatly since his MLS tryouts, he wanted more money than MLS was willing to pay, Everton made an idiotic decision, or some other reason entirely. But whatever the reason, I would say that the answer to your question “Wishing MLS clubs had the resources to scout the American college and PDL soccer scene well enough to uncover diamonds in the rough like Peterlin?” is N/A.

  6. JP says:

    Is he any good?

  7. CapeCodFutbol says:

    “Peterlin, 22, wasn’t known by man outside of California”.

    Mondays… I’m easily amused.

    And since it hasn’t been said yet… cap him now! ;-)

  8. DC Josh says:

    The kid is wicked talented apparently. I just hope he was under Bradley’s radar. It’s unfortunate we don’t hear about these talents until they sign with a big club. Moyes sounds genuinly impressed, hopefully he is still at Goodison next season and this kid can blossom.

  9. Tarheel Brian says:

    Beats 13k / year in MLS …

    Posted by: KingSnake | May 04, 2009 at 09:25 AM

    Those salaries don’t exist anymore.

    Anyway, I’m not buying the hype. Something about this just doesn’t add up.

    Apparently Sigi had seen him play in person during a college match. Plus I’m told that the big west is one of the more scouted conferences. If he really was this good, somebody would have spent a 4th round pick on the guy.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible or making any predictions about him failing; but I’ll believe the hype when I see him step on to the pitch for an Everton (not reserves) match.

  10. This Guy says:

    This kid gonna choose to play for the USMNT or the Danish?

    That is my only question.

  11. This Guy says:

    Just read an article from San Jose dated Feb. 9th, 2009. Anton Peterlin went to trial with the Quakes after he knew he was going to Everton for a trial. So i assume he waited til’ the Everton trial before setting on the MLS.

  12. rednow.red4ever says:

    “Apparently Sigi had seen him play in person during a college match.”

    Oh no, you’re right, Jabba the Wise could never have missed a talent….impossible!

  13. It just goes to show, there is more talent in this country than I think any of us knows.

    The problem is the current youth soccer system is broken. There are a lot of players on the “other” side of the tracks that are being overlooked. The talent does exist in the inner cities, but Football in this country resides in the suburbs.

    As I watched a tournament in Louisville last week, there was very little Football being played. It was just a bunch of suburban white kids running on testosterone with very little technical or tactial knowledge of the game. One word describes what I saw, “Yuck”.

    The future of the sport in this country is through the schools. It starts with getting programs in elementary schools for kids to play at their school. Reintroduce the sandlot game first to young kids, where they play with their friends.

    The best talent can not afford $2000 a year to be coached at a club. This system excludes the real talent from playing the game. Instead, they go to the sports they can play at low cost in their schools: Basketball, Baseball, or American Football.

    Congratulations to this young man. There are more like him in this country, the current system excludes them from being noticed.

  14. N-Whit says:

    How is this kid good enough for Everton, but not good enough for the MLS?

  15. Turtle says:

    What an inspiring story. I wish him the best of luck.

    This guy – got a link? Great info.

  16. matt C says:

    I can see why the MLS clubs passed. Unless he massively impressed and the MLS teams thought he could start or contribute quickly, they cannot AFFORD to take a lot of chances on players. Everton has the resources to “take a chance”. Even if they plop down 25–75k (i have no idea what he’ll be paid) it’s not a huge risk for them if Anton does not pan out.

  17. Igor says:

    Don’t be so quick to blame MLS teams. They have much smaller roster sizes and financial resources than Everton. If they didn’t think he was ready, they don’t want to waste a roster slot on him, while Everton easily can.

    Also, he had a Danish passport, so MLS teams may have been wary of his moving to Europe quickly.

  18. mike ruze says:

    Is he American or not?

    Thats great, but why couldnt he be a striker like Munez or a defender like Subotic

    another D mid…

  19. Aljarov says:

    What you didn’t mention was that he trialed at San Jose and wasn’t picked up. Man, could they ever do with help too….

  20. ELAC says:

    God Bless, America.

    I wish him well.

  21. brant says:

    MLS is definitely a ‘right now’ league, and the loss of the reserve division hurts that even more. Having the chance to play for the Everton reserves – a team unencumbered by a salary cap or roster limits – is freakin’ cool, and may lead to the big club one day, too. But San Jose and the others don’t have the luxury of stockpiling 15-20 promising youngsters on a team that’ll never see first-team games while they develop their skills for the parent club under the current MLS structure.

  22. SCNewJersey says:

    let’s hope his “second chapter” is better than Goal II… god that movie sucked.

  23. Chrös says:

    A lot of Americans could probably play on the reserve teams in England, to be honest.

  24. Thomas says:

    He’s a DM as well. MLS is full of workmanlike DM’s. Maybe this kid will develop a solid range of passing to go with the hard work. That’s what we’re missing with our Nats DM’s.

  25. David says:

    He had trials with two MLS teams and they both passed, and yet Everton recognized his talent?

    WHO ARE THE IDIOTS THAT SCOUT AND MAKE DECISIONS FOR MLS TEAMS?

    Good lord.

  26. green says:

    Uh. . . sensationalism at it’s best.

    Goal: The Dream Begins ?????????

    Really?

    OK guy.

  27. us_magpie says:

    Goal! last good thing to happen to the Toon…..

  28. brett says:

    N-Whit- “How is this kid good enough for Everton, but not good enough for the MLS?”

    it doesnt come down to how is he good enough for everton but not for the MLS….

    big factors make a difference….

    he may get a contract to everton, but i highly expect to see him in the reserves for at least a year…. everton see great prospect with the kid im sure, but the MLS dont have that luxury… with smaller rosters and no reserve league, the MLS have to get players who are capable now…. and once they find those kids (for all i know Anton could very well be ready), they both have to come to terms with $$… if MLS looked to pick up Anton, and he didnt want the typical DEV contract for 3 yrs he could very well hold off, finish school and then try his chances abroad…

    perhaps he didnt want to play in the MLS (unless GA was offered)… since he has Danish Citizenship perhaps he wants to try his chance abroad instead…

    guys, stop looking at it so black and white….

  29. BFBS says:

    Ok, so as a DM he had “two goals and three assists over the course of three seasons.” He better be a destroyer of the highest caliber or something is off. Anybody seen him play?

  30. BCC says:

    Write about him if/when he actually plays for Everton.

    No reason for the hyperbole at this point.

  31. kpugs says:

    “Write about him if/when he actually plays for Everton.

    No reason for the hyperbole at this point.”

    Gotta love the D-bags that still post here. Honestly go eff yourself you moron. Maybe you should start your own blog explaining to other bloggers what should or should not be written about. I want to open-hand slap you across the face so bad right now.

  32. kpugs says:

    I enjoy the Goal movies but have a problem with the whole illegal immigrant storyline. The reason is because the kid has no choice but to play for Mexico, but he is American. I’d much rather see him choose Mexico over USA than see him play for Mexico because he has no choice, not even going to go into the various random visa B.S. that is involved.

  33. krolpolski says:

    kpugs wrote: I enjoy the Goal movies but have a problem with the whole illegal immigrant storyline. The reason is because the kid has no choice but to play for Mexico, but he is American. I’d much rather see him choose Mexico over USA than see him play for Mexico because he has no choice, not even going to go into the various random visa B.S. that is involved.

    No – He should have to choose between the US and Mexico. And he choose USA because his gradmother is illegal and the US offers to give her and him a green card. Then he has to play in Azteca. Can you imagine the drama?

  34. CACuzcatlan says:

    Cal Poly, FTMFW!

  35. Carlo says:

    Ok, really! Man. I really dont see the MLS going under. So I think its time to stop all these (crap) things that keep the league from growing, and getting better talent from right here in the USA. I love watching MLS games. It gives me pride that I can go see decent games here in the states. But damn. Really all this political B.S. is frustrating many people. The front offices need to get things straight really quick, or people will start to get bored. Really soccer is here to stay on a professional level. There isn’t anything to fear. MLS needs to do better, and just let the soccer play itself out. If the MLS fails, it will be their own damn fault. Not because their was no interest in the game. You the the NASL had people talking about it on forums like this. Even if they didn’t have internet. Neither did any other soccer league back then. I hope this dude does well in Everton. Good luck man!

  36. SBGarrett says:

    Watched 3 Cal Poly games last season… and the guy didn’t stand out vastly beyond the rest of the squad outside of a pretty good free kick assist. They had a great defensive backbone as a team, and a very underrated Goalkeeper, was a bit surprised an MLS team didn’t take a flier on him. Peterlin did not seem destined for great things, and we’ve seen Willie Simms and thought next level, along with Iro, Zizzo, Frei, Marcus Tracy, Pontius, and Eric Avila. One that suprised was Tyler Rosenlund, always thought he would be better suited for Pro Ball a la Sam Cronin.

  37. afc says:

    No – He should have to choose between the US and Mexico. And he choose USA because his gradmother is illegal and the US offers to give her and him a green card. Then he has to play in Azteca. Can you imagine the drama?

    He plays for Mexico in the 3rd movie, its been confirmed for a while.

  38. Carlo says:

    Even the NASL didn’t have people***

  39. Matt says:

    I agree with those that are frustrated that a player with some potential isn’t signed by an MLS team. It seems stupid that there are players with professional potential out there in adult leagues, pdl, etc. who will never make it because of the limits imposed by roster size and salary cap in MLS. I also think all the people freaking out over the issue need to chill. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that Peterlin is going to slot into Everton’s starting lineup for next year. Like others have mentioned, he’s a kid with pro potential (and most importantly, an EU passport) that Everton can afford to throw some money at in case he develops into an EPL quality player. Like it or not, MLS is not a league for development. I wish our promising youth nats would go abroad instead of signing with MLS because few see time. There’s little incentive for MLS teams to develop talent and they certainly aren’t going to go through every nook and cranny of the US soccer landscape to find players with potential. They’re looking for proven talent. Now whether the league’s restrictions that prevent that from happening are intelligent or ridiculous is another argument. Good luck to the kid, hope he becomes great and plays for the US.

  40. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Worst part about it is that the Quakes apparently worked this guy out and sent him on his way. that’s my team…embarrassing on the field and off.

    ps – “Green” get over it. The Goal reference is a joke. Your response is self-important nonsense at its best.

  41. Chase says:

    How do you people know for sure that Chicago or San Jose decided not to sign him based on talent evaluation?

    For all we know they were aware that he had an EU passport and was being courted by Everton and just decided that they couldn’t compete and decided not to waste the kid’s time.

    Anyway, I love this story. I wish this kid all of the luck in the world, except when he plays the real club of Merseyside.

    Also, Everton doesn’t have a very big senior team (when compared to the Big Four), so if he plays well, he should at least see some action next season.

  42. CD says:

    is he playing for the US?

  43. DC Josh says:

    paul lorinczi—

    I completely agree with you.

    The problem with our MNT pool is not that we don’t have the players to fill it, it’s the fact that certain players aren’t discovered because their family can’t afford the thousands to pay for him to play on top-level teams. The USSF has increased its scholarships to help reach those kids, but there are still major gaps.

    Our soccer federation’s resources should equal the size of our country, and it doesn’t. We live in one of the largest countries in the world. Unfortunately, Mexico and European clubs come knocking before MLS and before you know it, our MNT is missing a star striker (Rossi) and a solid center half (Subotic). Imagine how deep we would be with just those two, not including Edgar Castillo.

    I think this story is fascinating. As I said before, I really hope he makes it over there this summer.

  44. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Chase – We absolutely do not know that. But consider that his position is an area of prime need and the invitation to Everton was pretty unlikely. If the Quakes gave him an offer, it would take a hell of a lot of confidence to turn it down and chase that tenuous possibility.

    Of course I’d take nearly anyone sight unseen over Ramiro Corrales at the moment…

  45. This Guy says:

    A simple google search would stop the ignorant debates.

    This kid was trialed by San Jose. San Jose knew he was going on trial to Everton. Peterlin isn’t gonna sign a contract with the Quakes and say no to the trial at Everton. Everton expressed interest, so he held out on the MLS.

    It’s an easy decision. MLS didn’t screw this up.

  46. PD says:

    kpugs, you are such a chump – threatening to open-hand slap people on a soccer blog, simply because they warned against hyperbole. it seems to me you feel the constant need to vent your frustrations over your lack of accomplishments and stature in the real world over the web. enough of the paper tiger histrionics – stick to talking about soccer.

  47. Daniel Karell says:

    This is really cool! Keep dreaming everyone, you never know what might happen :)

  48. CapeCodFutbol says:

    PD – please slap yourself.

  49. Chrös says:

    Seriously, some of this sensationalistic posting is ridiculous.

    It’s cool that a kid got a contract over there, but it’s not like MLS missed out on a guy who is starting for a Europa League team. He will be a reservist, and I doubt Everton’s reserves would even win MLS.

    Give it some time before blaming MLS on missing Pele here.

  50. Dominghosa says:

    A repeat but whatevs …
    Peterlin can’t play under a better manager. Moyes will get the most out of the kid.
    Exciting news for him. And as a Toffee and USMNT fan, I hope this move pays big dividends.

  51. Martha c says:

    If we could field 3 goalies and 8 d-midfielders we would have a chance!!

    or if we could field 10 defensive midfielders and a goalie we could win the world cup!!!

    …of course sometimes I think Bob Bradley tries to do the later!!!

  52. fig says:

    DC Josh wrote:
    Unfortunately, Mexico and European clubs come knocking before MLS and before you know it, our MNT is missing a star striker (Rossi) and a solid center half (Subotic). Imagine how deep we would be with just those two, not including Edgar Castillo.
    ============================================

    You’re using Rossi and Subotic as examples in this discussion? These guys chose other countries b/c they wanted to play for Italy and Serbia, respectively, not because the U.S. didn’t give them the opportunity.

  53. dcu#10fan says:

    All the best to Peterlin. I hope he does well, grows as a player, etc., but, MLS bashers need to get a grip in this particular case and Paul Lorinczi is in extra need of getting a grip.

    He played four years in one of the best college soccer conferences in the country, where plenty of MLS scouts have seen him play without a doubt.

    He is a senior Team Captain, as pointed out in the article, he would not have gone unnoticed).

    The article points out that he had workouts with MLS teams and that he was chasing the European dream thanks in part to the help of a PDL team coach (part of the US youth soccer system, no?).

    He clearly is not among the forgotten from the other side of the tracks as Paul Lorinczi implies (more cliches next time, Paul?) since he was playing big time college soccer and for a PDL team.

    See the long list of players US soccer fans have gotten excited about (and bashed MLS about) just because they spent some time in Europe. How many of them were really special players missed by the system? Please, let’s hear about one.

    I don’t think the youth system is perfect here – but it isn’t perfect in Europe or S.America either and we aren’t about to dump what we have entirely for a professional club based system any time soon (even if we should, which is debatable).

    If it changed tomorrow, there would still be more money and larger squads in Europe and some players willing to do anything to chase the dream there, just as many Spanish basketball players will give up a very good paycheck and big role on their team to chase the dream of playing with the best in the NBA. Some will go and then return better players, but not necessarily stars, in MLS when they realize they are not going to really make it. Good for them for trying. Others will do it all here in MLS and that’s fine too. When MLS fails, let’s jump all over them. When real injustice (in the soccer sense) is uncovered, let’s raise heck on the blogosphere. But a little sense of perspective, please, MLS/US Soccer bashers, this is just a nice story for now and doesn’t represent a big MLS failure or soccer injustice.

  54. Richard, UK says:

    The kid wants to play for Denmark.

    Also, I like how people who are livid that their MLS club didn’t sign him despite never having heard of him before. How hilariously ridiculous.

    So what if Everton signed him? That doesn’t make him quality, it just means he impressed enough for them to take a risk free gamble on him.

  55. MikeD says:

    Since you mentioned Michael Bradley’s previous link to Everton, it made think about his career so far. Peterlin is 22 and Bradley doesn’t turn 22 for almost 3 months. Bradley has been in Europe for 3+ seasons and starting for the last 2 seasons in Holland and now Germany. Now I’m sure someone will say it’s because of his dad, but that is impressive for such a young kid. :P

    Hopefully Peterlin does well for Everton.

  56. Tony in Quakeland says:

    For those saying people are over reacting about MLS not signing this kid, Jen Chang asks the same questions:

    link to sports.espn.go.com

    Personally, I am not bashing MLS – I’m bashing the Quakes who have a clear need at his position (and the other ten, by the way). Obviously, we don’t know what went on, but the Quakes have done little to inspire my confidence recently.

    Also, considering the guy’s age, this is not taking a flyer on a teenager. He must have shown SOMETHING, and they must think he can contribute in a year or so.

    Of course, odds are this is the last we hear of him. But….

  57. northzax says:

    how could the Fire or Quakes sign him? isn’t he an American college player, and therefore subject to the draft?

  58. Joey says:

    Thanks to his Engliash manager he got his chance. I bet USSF or MLS didn’t know anything about him.

    I bet he plays for Denmark now

  59. Evan says:

    lucky dude. I’m 14 and i hope i can do this some day. good luck to this kid tho

  60. Alex says:

    Jen Chang??? you actually linked to him?? why? look this kids not going to everton to fight for a first team spot, he’s trying for a reserve spot… I say the quakes made a good move if he wasn’t ready now, let everton develop him, Thorrington developed at Man U, look at davies from south hampton, these guys have big dreams and its going to be tough to sit on the bench and wait for your turn, besides I bet he knows like we all do if it dosen’t work out he can always go back home.

  61. bluemersey says:

    @ Chase: “the real club of Merseyside”? You’re treading on thin ice with that comment, given that Everton FC gave birth to Liverpool FC and have enormous and insanely passionate support in the city of Liverpool, arguably more in the city than LFC who draw most of their support from wider England and Europe beyond. Outside of Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool FC, Everton have won the most honours in the English game, dwarfing the acheivements of higher profile sides like Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.

    Everton boss David Moyes is widely regarded here in the UK as one of the finest coaches in the game and is fancied by many to be in line to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Moyes doesn’t suffer fools and hasn’t given this young man a chance merely on a speculative whim. He’s given him a chance at a club with arguably the best team spirit and work ethic in the Premiership, undoubtedly a top class destination for a young, hard-working player. I wish him every success at Everton!

  62. Joamiq says:

    “I want to open-hand slap you across the face so bad right now.”
    LOL

    As for this story… how on earth… well, his just getting signed by Everton is a great story. Let’s see where he goes. I’m sure we’re all rooting for him.

  63. Joey says:

    You’re using Rossi and Subotic as examples in this discussion? These guys chose other countries b/c they wanted to play for Italy and Serbia, respectively, not because the U.S. didn’t give them the opportunity.

    Posted by: fig | May 04, 2009 at 03:26 PM

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^”

    Come on ; Subotic was told by Rogen he was not good enough.

  64. BCC says:

    kplugs, you want to “slap” me? Wow, then what? Recommend a good place for a manicure? I have never been threatened by a woman on the internet before.

    I still say that this is hyperbole. Do you think Spanish or Italian bloggers get excited when someone gets a contract from an EPL club? If Peterlin makes the first team and plays well on a consistent basis, then I will be excited. Getting a contract doesn’t mean ****. Go ask Jozy.

    Slap me . . . you’d be too afraid to break a nail.

  65. Steve says:

    Why do we get so prematurely excited about such signings? Andrew Jacobson (L’Orient), Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Danny Szetela (Racing Santander), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria)….we all got similarly excited by these signings. Unfortunately, they all never saw the light of day with their original clubs, and I trust that’s the case with a majority of young signings. I hope all of the players above, and Peterlin, eventually develop successful careers, either back in the MLS (as in Jacobson’s case) or abroad, but the signing in and of itself is not too much to get excited about.

  66. Matt says:

    hahaha dope i played pickup with him like two months ago. hes pretty legit. pretty stoked, we had a beastly team at poly this year and he was def the crucial cog.

  67. EJ Ruane says:

    Moyes speciality – finding lads like this (ie: hardworking but not obviously ‘stars’) and turning them into great team players.
    As a blue I wish this lad all the best and can promise him, all he has to do to win the supporters over is work his nuts off EVERY game. Good luck!

  68. Tony H says:

    Davey Moyes knows his stuff, if their is more to come from Anton Peterlin, then he will get it.

    Trust me as a season ticket holder at Everton for over 30 years – Moyes is the Main Man. We spend very little compared to most of the Prem, but are always digging out Diamonds in the Rough.

    NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM.