Report: Johnson let go by Puebla due to lack of fitness

EddieJohnsonFulham (ISIPhotos.com)

Eddie Johnson's quest to revive his playing career appears to have hit a major snag after he was reportedly dumped by Mexican club Puebla because he was out of shape.

According to Medio Tiempo, Johnson showed up for Puebla training camp before the New Year, but he failed to meet the team's expectations of fitness and sharpness and was let go.

Johnson has been out of action for eight months, and has made news for the wrong reasons for a second straight time. Last summer, Johnson made headlines when he backed out of a deal to sign with MLS.

The first signs that something might be wrong with Johnson's move to Puebla came last week, when manager Juan Carlos Osorio stated in an interview that the Johnson deal was not complete, and that he might not wind up being signed.

Where the 27-year-old striker will turn now remains to be seen. With Europe looking like a distant memory, and having already burned a bridge with MLS, Johnson will likely have to take his chances playing in a lower division to rejuvenate a career that is quickly turning into a disaster, and a cautionary tale.

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67 Responses to Report: Johnson let go by Puebla due to lack of fitness

  1. okifeelthat says:

    WOW. Johnson’s career keeps plummeting.

  2. adub says:

    fc dallas needs a striker. didnt see him working out in mexico anyways….

  3. Sean says:

    Wow. I was a big EJ fan. Maybe the kid doesn’t get it.

  4. suckerpunch says:

    FC Dallas needs a striker, they don’t need Johnson though.
    At his best (which may be a fading memory) he could have been a serviceable player for Puebla.

  5. JL says:

    SO he has been out of work for over a year, and didn’t show up in shape? He either is clueless or thought he was in shape enough to skate by, either way it says a lot about his professionalism. He should have been in the best shape possible, outside of actual match fitness, and ready to show he belongs. Where is his support team in all of this? What a meteoric fall.

  6. Rob says:

    Keep him the F out of MLS! We don’t need washed up garbage like him ruining our leagues already fragile image to the world. Let him rot as grocery store clerk in Eastern Europe somewhere.

  7. Luke says:

    Im sorry but for someone who had so much potential this is just pathetic..

  8. Sounds like TFC material.

  9. Tony in Quakeland says:

    A cautionary tail about the type of player we are seeing less and less of in US national team programs.

    Johnson was athletic. Period. Up to a certain level of competition he could out run or out muscle opponents. Coaches focusing on winning instead of developing players were happy to rely on that and did not teach him technique or, frankly, even tactics. Just muscle, run, kick. Eventually, he rose to levels where that simply wasn’t enough.

    His lack of skill is a condemnation of US and club soccer ranks when he was a youth player. His apparent laziness and lack of commitment is his fault. If he doesn’t really want to play anymore, fine. Retire. Otherwise, he really should be ashamed of himself. Sadly, there is little reason to hope that this will be a wake up call for him.

  10. Jamie Z. says:

    Oh, snap.

  11. allouez86 says:

    I’m sure there are a few Sunday League clubs that would take him, assuming he’s ok taking a real job on the side somewhere ;)

  12. gigi says:

    wow..maybe he can grab a deal with the NASL or something.

  13. hogatroge says:

    I feel bad for him, but being out of shape when you’re in his situation is inexcusable. Especially when he publicly made comments that he thought he was still in too good of form to have to retire in MLS already.

  14. wilyboy says:

    This is the biggest fail moment of any US player this year. What a total waste.

  15. Thomas McBooglebones says:

    Obviously the overwhelming opinion is that this is pathetic, and I fully agree, but why not give him a shot in MLS? I mean based off of what just happened he has to have no offers and not much money left. Offer him basically nothing and give him a short leash, at the first sign of trouble cut him loose.

  16. Dinosaur Soldier says:

    I’d take him in MLS for a contract at the league minimum.

    Maybe he should try watching the US National team on TV.

  17. Cairo says:

    Hopefully he’ll hear the message, get in shape, and come back to MLS. For those saying that MLS doesn’t need him, I have to laugh. A fit and in-form Eddie Johnson is probably a starter on half of the teams in MLS right now. He may never get back to that place, but if I were an MLS team, I’d certainly take a flyer on him for a reasonable salary.

  18. Dillon says:

    Maybe his laziness and disinterest in training are to blame for his lack of technical skills? Seems just as likely. Being born athletic is all luck, developing skills is hard work.

    After all, Brek Shea is big, strong, fast, and also one of the most technically proficient young Americans.

  19. MicahK says:

    Good way for EJ to start off the New Year !!! :D

  20. fischy says:

    Still, it is only January 2nd. Give it time. There may be a much bigger fail in the 364 days to come.

  21. PetedeLA says:

    Not so long ago this guy was making the first team at FC Fulham.

  22. AL says:

    C’on man! you are given a shot at a decent league and you blow it by showing up out of shape? Exactly who do you think you are? It’s not like your technical skills are so that they can carry your lack of fitness.

  23. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I think you’re slightly overestimating how big a story “Eddie Johnson signs with MLS” would be to the rest of the world. No one would notice, much less care, that a guy who couldn’t hack it in the Championship was riding the pine back in his home country.

  24. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    He showed last year at Aris that if he wants to, he can play at a decent level. I hope he gets his act together.

  25. joe k says:

    osorio? i don’t trust that guy.

  26. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    I think he needs punched in the NASaL

  27. Chris Whyte says:

    As a last resort due to injuries

  28. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    And by last year I mean 2010.

  29. Award says:

    All I can say is C’MON MAN!!!!!!!!! Did Puebla just sign him with out doing a physical in the first place.

  30. wilyboy says:

    You heard me. Someone tops this, he’s got the self destruction of a Ricardo Clark/Nery Castillo love child with the intellect of a lobotomized Phil Neville.

  31. John says:

    Lighten up Frances.

  32. A wise man once says:

    The new year is messing with everyone.

  33. Kasey says:

    Be like Mauro or retire

  34. marco says:

    The Freddy Adu disease. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnson and Adu leading the George and Dragon Pub side in 5 years.

  35. PetedeLA says:

    There certainly has to be some truth in what you say, but you don’t make it to the first team at FC Fulham without some skill and tactical acumen.

    He failed to take the maintenance of his skill and fitness level seriously. It’s a shame, but seems like he just underestimated the challenge.

    I bet he’s just as good as a guy like Bunbury or maybe even better than Edson Buddle. Way better than Cooper.

  36. PetedeLA says:

    You realize they have reservists and youth players to call upon.

  37. marco says:

    I believe it peaked in a game against Panama and been all downhill since.

  38. marco says:

    SBI, Franco Paniza, In Florida,
    “Johnson, 27, last played in a competitive match in late April for Preston North End, and while three quarters of a year seems like a long time to go without playing soccer, Johnson was not frustrated.”

    Later in the report Franco says EJ had a death in the family and trained for a month at the academy. One month of training in seven months, who’s his agent?

  39. Yaznasty says:

    Another graduate of the Freddy Adu school for American kids who got too cocky too fast. Maybe it’s not too late for him to enroll in the Freddy Adu school for kids who realized they’re not as big of a deal as they thought.

  40. The Imperative Voice says:

    Skill and fitness are two spheres that are separate but overlap. Brad Davis is a classic example of a skillful player who could only last 60-70 minutes a few years back. So I disagree with the premise that one must become fit to be skilled. Now, lots of ball work helps, but doing all the fast feet drills and other skill work is not the hardest cardio work.

    Now, I think that we’d all acknowledge that playing soccer will wear you out and that skills can be hurt by heavy legs (and slower brain) caused by fitness. And a team with a choice of players may not want a marginal player whose fitness level makes his skills even worse. But if you were truly gifted technically they might want you around to play supersub, ala Preki. You only need to be fit enough to play one left footer that way…..for that matter, Valderrama was slow as molasses…..although dude was ripped.

    In terms of EJ specifically, he’s sloppy to start with and the fitness just makes it worse. It may even be a useful excuse to back out of a deal that they don’t like anymore. Because EJ probably assumed that, like a Rooney or the like, he could play his way into shape. But teams are getting tougher about even the Rooneys of the world — real talents — and a marginal guy like EJ can’t assume they’ll take him in faith and let him train into shape.

    In terms of Shea, I love the dude’s talent and he’s productive already but bluntly he’s not shown the motor to be a 90 minute guy yet. He is actually an example of someone who does have the skills but needs more fitness to stay relevant for 90 minutes.

  41. The Imperative Voice says:

    But the problem is he and Adu are classic examples of overrated players whose European experiences inflate their salary demands well beyond their MLS value. To play in MLS they have to drop a bunch and the message from EJ round 1 was he didn’t drop low enough to fit MLS.

    Also, that the ability versus salary matrix didn’t put him in MLS suggests you might be rating him too high on ability. Cause MLS will clearly spend millions for foreign talent and hundreds of thousands for historical USMNT players, even hasbeens like Convey. That doesn’t scream “starter” to me, it indicates they’re worried he would be an expensive bust…..recall he had some spectacular runs of form but also some weak seasons. Like Adu, I bet teams were wondering if he’s worth it…..and he didn’t play in the Gold Cup and a bunch of friendlies and show flashes that he has a clue.

    I think this MLS-Mexico experience points to either lack of brains or lack of humility or both because only a dumb or egotistical player who hasn’t played much in months, and whose whole intent is to revive his career, shows up for his second chance plodding and unready.

  42. The Imperative Voice says:

    The implication of cutting him in the early days of January before a real FMF ball is kicked in anger, is that EJ may have oversold an opportunity that would be closer to a trial. Remember he and MLS announced his return before personal terms (read: $) were agreed, and we see how that worked.

  43. The Imperative Voice says:

    My two cents: A-League. They play 433 up and down the field soccer and no one plays defense.

  44. The Imperative Voice says:

    Added thoughts: if he wanted to coast on rep, here would have been the place, not Mexico.

    Dude’s 27. Train is nearing last chance station if not already derailed.

  45. Jason says:

    I knew a couple people who worked for the Burn/FC Dallas back when Johnson was still a teenager coming up in the team. They would grumble about Johnson’s lack of commitment then, but I figured it was mostly related to him just being a teenager. Something he would grow out of.
    Unfortunately it sounds as though it’s a bad trait he’s never outgrown. It’s a real shame because I thought he had serious potential.

  46. Poo says:

    wow, what did he ever do to you personally?

  47. Poo says:

    Are you considering that an MLS team would have to give up there spot in the US nat re-entry order to take him?

    Tough to waste that spot on him when you could potentially use it on a guy like Dolo in june.

    p.s.- i hate that rule.

  48. Ike says:

    Time to call up Ben Olsen, did wonders for CD9

  49. Hush says:

    Yeah, put Sasha, Rogers, Ream, Castillo, Demerit, Cooper, Casey, and Wondo in that list….psshhhh. Comparing EJ to Adu is completly stupid. EJ was always a below average player. Some of you noobs just hyped him thinking he was the next Rivaldo. Some of you are doing the same with wack a$$ Sasha….. A below average mid.

    Everytime I hear a rant over Adu it seems it comes from people who don’t watch Futbol frequently. Hypebeast is what I am going to call Adu bashers.

  50. Thebumswillalwayslose says:

    Methinks there might be a little more to this story than just Eddie being out of shape. There are too many things that don’t compute.

    First, you have EJ’s camp AND the President of Puebla publicly announcing this, both sides making it seem like EJ had put pen to paper and this was a done deal. Then Osorio pipes up and says “No no, it’s not a done deal yet”. At the same time, you’ve got EJ saying “I’m just as fast and stronger and as good a player as I’ve ever been”, and then like 4 days after he shows up at camp he’s cut for “lack of fitness and pace”. I know pro athletes tend not to be completely objective when it comes to that kind of stuff, but there’s a HUGE disconnect there.

    To be honest, it seems like this deal was done without Osorio being completely on board and this was his way of getting out of a deal he never really wanted in the first place.

    OR, the other possibility is that EJ really just is THAT out of shape, in which case….. I guess there’s always the indoor league…

  51. marco says:

    Caleb Porter said Adu was not fit at the U23 camp. Caleb, do you watch futbol?

  52. chris says:

    You just compared Eddie Johnson to Rivaldo, and you’re blaming other people for not watching games? Hahaha They’re literally nothing alike at all.

  53. Award says:

    Uhm , Caleb Porter also said that Adu was pure quality, and went on to praise his technical skill. Gettign Fit is easy, the technical skill Adu has is inherited adn worked on in the streets. There is a reason he is training with Rayo Vallecano. so he can regain his fitness.

  54. prada08 says:

    MLS needs to sign johnson to a contract and ship off to a brazilan club to team to train until the season the mls pre-season starts. Maybe he can get fit and get that swagger back!

  55. dutchtwista says:

    quite likely he needs a therapist/sports shrink to help him achieve some clarity and realism about this (last?) phase of life as a pro athlete and help him get a grip on his unraveling personal life. EJ came a long way just to get a pro soccer deal in the first place and it’s obvious no one really close to him – family, agency, has been helpful in managing the pressure and responsibility that brings. US fans like to treat him like a punching bag, but bottom line he’s human being struggling to just grow up.

  56. Colin says:

    I know a guy who knows stuff, and he said that not only was EJ out of shape, but he left the staff at Puebla wondering if he had ever kicked a soccer ball before.

  57. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    all that dude ever had was speed. now that hes not even got that…

  58. marco says:

    My guess is, from reports/comments at camp 1, that if Freddy is not fit by camp 2, he’s dropped. Perhaps he’ll turn it around by then.

  59. marco says:

    “Gettign Fit is easy,”
    Obviously staying fit is not an automatic with many players, so it is never easy. That’s what this article is about.

  60. The Imperative Voice says:

    Are you sure they’d require that seeing as he went through a MLS allocation draft “unscathed” already? Doesn’t that make him a free agent?

  61. Vic says:

    Maybe he good find a team in Greece. He did well in his time with Aris.

  62. joe blow says:

    Same huge disconnect when he was supposed to sign with MLS last year. It looks like he has a sh*t agent.

  63. SkiFast! says:

    A-League… as in the old name for the second divison in the US, or the top-flight in Australia?

  64. The Imperative Voice says:

    Australia. Similar league to MLS or K-league or other upstarts, maybe a little weaker, still first division, OK salary cap, provision for marquee players off cap. It’s either that or he takes a serious MLS salary haircut, drops down to the minors, or winds up in random Europe. Mexico suggests he doesn’t want the humbleness lesson of caving to American teams, so some modest foreign league? Maybe it’s that Landon hinted he found Australia interesting but beyond a random Kiwi or Aussie or Fred going back, there’s not much traffic in MLS players there. You’d think our decent work ethic and skill and toughness would play there, although EJ is definitely not the poster boy for those qualities.

    I just can’t see him signing here unless he gets super desperate, even if he appears to be running his career into an iceberg like the Titanic by being so stubborn, arrogant, and greedy. And though people will suggest there’s no proof he’s that, the fact that he wanted too much for anyone in MLS to nibble on an international player wrapped up in a bow — overrated or not — suggests he lacks the Nguyen-esque humility to come back here and lunchpail it for a reasonable salary until he proves himself again.

  65. Jl says:

    More garbage for us to offload on the Columbus Few? No thanks.