Gonzalez still open to moving abroad

Omar Gonzalez

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

While one half of the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback pairing has committed to spending the rest of his career in Major League Soccer, the other half of the pairing is keeping his options open.

In the wake of Matt Besler’s landmark Designated Player contract signing, joining USMNT centerback Omar Gonzalez as the only two American defenders on Designated Player contracts, Gonzalez has sounded off on the deal as well as his own future.

Gonzalez, who signed his DP deal in August 2013, isn’t likely to move abroad this summer, as LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has all but ruled out a transfer move. However, Gonzalez told reporters ahead of the Galaxy’s friendly match against Manchester United that he would still like to try his luck in Europe again in the future.

“I still want to ply my trade in Europe, but right now I’m committed to the Galaxy,” Gonzalez told LA Galaxy Insider. “That’s something that my agent handles, but right now I’m looking to get back to full fitness and I’m looking to get a result against United and go to Seattle and have a tough game.”

Gonzalez joined FC Nurnburg in Jan. 2012 for a short-term loan but in his first training session, tore his anterior cruciate ligament, ending his stint just as quickly as it had begun.

Prior to and since the injury, Gonzalez has been a standout defender in MLS, winning the award for best defender in 2011, making the MLS Best XI on three occasions, and winning two MLS Cups with the Galaxy. The 25-year-old Gonzalez is currently in his sixth year with the Galaxy since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.

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What do you think of Gonzalez’s comments? Would you like to see him move abroad? Think he should remain in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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57 Responses to Gonzalez still open to moving abroad

  1. Real World says:

    I also would like to play for Barcelona but……

    • bigpeepee says:

      can you imagine him being introduced to the fans and he comes out in a speedos playing a saxophone (as he did at the end of 2013….youtube it).

      • Horsewhistle says:

        His wife probably just wants to move to France.
        And Omar is accepted with the speedos/le slip.

        He should just move her to Silverlake and make her take the bus.
        viola!

  2. Alex H says:

    This story is a waste of time. It was nothing more than Omar stringing together a few platitudes to be twisted into a “story” by a writer that clearly needed to make a deadline.

    That said, I doubt Omar will go to Europe because American soccer players are undervalued over there, but over valued over here. Until that changes American players will do what’s best for them and stay.

    • Josh D says:

      Undervalued in Europe? Perhaps a few but name me five quality players who made it out MLS in the last five years and play in a proper league?

      Not Dempsey, Beasley or Bradley; they were before that. Shea, Eddie Johnson, Clark, etc all bombed. There’s a far longer list of players who’ve failed than those who’ve succeeded. That history is what hurts new players more than any notion it’s because they’re American.

      I’ll give you half a point for Jozy and half for Ream and another half for Holden, a point for Cameron, Kamara, and Guzman.

      The simple fact is that most players coming out of MLS just don’t make it abroad, and of those who do, none in the last five years can be considered top four quality. We’d have to go back to the Howard/Dempsey generation to find them.

      With a few exceptions, the longer a player stays in MLS, the harder it is for them to adapt to playing abroad. The conditions are too difficult. You’re forced into a faster, more technical league; you play 15+ extra games a season; you’re only a few mistakes away from a seat on the bench because there’s little room for errors. It’s hard.

      MLS is up and coming. But the gulf is still too far for most players. They have to make that leap early in their career. Yes, it’s a risk, but if they bomb out there’s a 95% chance it’s because they simply weren’t good enough. This notion that it’s still us for them was overplayed in the early 2000s.

      • EA says:

        “a point for Cameron, Kamara, and Guzman.”

        Kamara isn’t American.

        I don’t know who Guzman is.

        “Perhaps a few but name me five quality players who made it out MLS in the last five years and play in a proper league?”

        If you mean Americans – then Sacha Kljestan plays in the Champions League pretty regularly. If you mean a player just making the jump from MLS to “Europe” then Roger Espinoza is a great example.

        I forget what the rest of your point was.

        • soccerhorn says:

          I think he meant Guzan. Give him a break. And yeah, Kljestan jumps to mind. Bedoya’s had a good run in France, and Edu with Rangers before their collapse. And to not give Bradley credit for his performance in Europe? dude started in Serie A for three years. c’mon, man. But still, I do remember Josh D’s point – the transition to European play is very tough, and still only a few Americans – other than goal keepers – have had much success.

          On the other hand, how many Euro stars have thrived in the MLS? Henri? Beckham? Lots of those guys have failed too. We rely on something here called airplanes. And play in the summer heat, etc.

          • Josh D says:

            Thanks for the defending. I meant Guzan.

            Kljestan plays in Belgium. I don’t count that a top league so I didn’t include him. Edu was in Scotland, a terrible league these days. Bedoya didn’t come out of MLS; he went straight to Europe. Bradley went to Europe like eight years ago. I said players in the last five years to show that the trend lately has been bomb after bomb, hence why players coming out of MLS are not sought after and get devalued.

            Henry and Beckham have both done very well in MLS. As did Angel, Keane, and Defoe. Plus, these aren’t guys moving to a harder league at a decent age. These are proven stars who are coming to MLS to play in a competitive but quieter league.

        • Josh D says:

          Guzan. I was typing quickly during lunch. And my point wasn’t just US players coming out of MLS. But MLS players in general coming out of the league.

          Kljestan I almost mentioned but now he seems to be snowballing out for some reason, though he has played well in Belgium – though I said a top league and I don’t count Belgium a top league.

          • GW says:

            Mr. D,

            What you say about MLS players having a hard time transitioning is true but the reality is, acclimating to Europe for any player from a country outside Europe is almost always a big challenge for many reasons on and off the field.

            Since you don’t consider Anderlecht a “top club”, then, in general most players from most nations fail to break into “top” euro clubs.

            So American bred players are hardly alone in this regard. MLS has sent a fair number of players over there who have done well w/o too much fuss, Ryan Nelsen, Roger Espinoza, DMB, McBride, Boca.etc. Demerit, ,Bedoya and Davies had no MLS beginnings but they count.

            None of these guys were going to be a star at Real Madrid or Bayern Munich but they did well nevertheless.

            Holden was the one dominant one and if not for injury might have been a star.

            There is way too much extremism when SBI posters talk about MLS or not for US bred players.

            The USMNT eligible talent pool, excluding future potential dual national committments, is second or third rate by World Cup standards but is probably best categorized as “trending upward”.

            Whether that is fast enough for most of you is highly unlikely but we’ll see.

        • bostonredsoccer says:

          Kamara holds a US passport. He came to the US at age 16.

  3. The Gentleman Masher says:

    I don’t think American players are undervalued – but MLS players are. On a DP contract – unless he blew the socks off Man United’s scouts tonight – there aren’t a lot of Euro clubs willing to pay the freight it would take to get Gonzalez over there.

    • Alex H says:

      That’s my point. Omar is probably getting what he worth over here (maybe a tad more) but he would be grossly undervalued if he went abroad, so why bother?

      If a European coach makes a bad decision acquiring somebody from an old school soccer nation nobody really notices, it’s just one of those things. If the same thing happens with a Yank then everybody goes out of their way to point it out.

      • beachbum says:

        +1

      • James says:

        “If a European coach makes a bad decision acquiring somebody from an old school soccer nation nobody really notices, it’s just one of those things. If the same thing happens with a Yank then everybody goes out of their way to point it out.”

        I don’t follow British press much. Is this true? I guess I assumed it was made a big deal of in the states, but not so much abroad – more of a “meh” to their media.

        • Josh D says:

          This isn’t true at all. I’ve followed soccer, including the Premier League, for over 15 years and have never read a real editorial or article that jumps on a player because they’re American or from MLS unfairly.

          It’s a common excuse for not being good enough.

          • Alex H says:

            That’s because Euro coaches rarely give Americans the chance to mess things up for them. As for not being good enough, it is clear to me that if a European team had made 7 straight WC appearances, reach the second round 4 of those times and had a top 20 FIFA ranking they would have absolutely no trouble getting those players on the big stage.

            • Josh D says:

              Really? Howard was given his chance to choke at United then given his chance to shine at Everton. The Fulham boys, including EJ, all had their chances. Gooch had his. Bedoya got his, Bradley his. Come on. What player hasn’t been given a chance? Holden? Ream? Cameron?

              World Cup appearances don’t mean as much when it comes from our region. It’s the same with Japan and Korea. Plus our team isn’t built on MLS players. It’s spine has almost always in recent years been from Europe.

              Rankings are bogus. Are all the Swiss and Croatian players playing in top four leagues?

      • JayAre says:

        When you think American players think marketing $$$ for that reason alone they are worth a lot. Think of it how many people tune in too Sunderland to watch Jozy and change the channel if he’s not paying or subbed? I when to the depths of the internet to find a quality stream to watch Spector and ream play. How many Americans bought an Altidore Sunderland jersey?? America is a big market and For those reason alone American players are worth more. It makes no sense for KC to Sell Besler for 5M$ when they can probably make close to that selling his Jersey. That’s the reason why MLS players are worth more

      • GW says:

        Alex H,

        Well since you are an American, naturally you would notice that an American player does poorly.

        Just look at the endless weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth here on SBI over Jozy’s misadventures. The sheer volume of misery and endless recriminations is violently nauseating .

        In England, guys with stories similar to Jozy’s are a dime a dozen in their regular sports media. It’s not a big deal.

        The fan message boards are another thing all together but that is what you can expect from such forums. These boards are like that for other sports here in America.

        Certain nationalities, Brazilians, Argies, Germans, Dutch, African players etc. are, because of positive stereotypes always going get the benefit of the doubt.

        This is true in all sport however, Spend a little time following how the NFL draft works and how high draft choices get preferential treament as opposed to non drafted players. Except substitute draft status for nationality. Or college affiliation and position for nationality: example, linemen and wide receivers from USC, defenders from Alabama, anyone with the surname Matthews , you get the picture.
        Sacha is a nice, solid player for Anderlecht, not good enough for the USMNT World Cup squad but solid enough for Anderlecht a good team in a good league. He is where he is because he is a nice solid player, nothing special. Being an American has little to do with it. After all, Gooch was a dominant player in that same league for many years.
        As far as I can tell most of the USMNT eligible players in Europe are about where they deserve to be with the only possible exception being Clint who could still be scoring in double figures for some EPL team. I notice that the outrage over Mikey’s lack of PT at Roma has died down somewhat after his showing in Brazil. Typical bandwagon USMNT fans.

  4. Brad C says:

    I’m sorry, but how can the USMNT or it fans expect us to get better if our players aren’t playing against the best competition possible? Sure it’s great for the players (financially, but doesn’t help them improve or perhaps keep their USMNT spot imho), MLS, and their clubs but it doesn’t help the team.

    • Alex H says:

      That seems to be the prevailing theory but is it true? Is it really the case that European based players perform better for the national team? And if it is true, is it because Europe made them better or were they just better to begin with, which is why they were able to make it in Europe? I do not believe that the answers are cut and dry

      • Ryan B says:

        Serious question – Is Howard as good and as comfortable as he is, if he is still in MLS? You gotta think facing Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, etc. week in and week out can only help.

      • Josh D says:

        With the exception of Donovan, I’d argue that yes, European-based players tend to be our best and tend to perform the best for us. I think the only MLS-based players who really showed their worth this World Cup were Yedlin, Besler, and Beckerman. Zusi did well but he did so by playing the defensive winger position. That’s not the type of winger who succeeds in Europe though.

        • Jack says:

          You mean like Bedoya who plays in France and was probably less effective then Zusi?

          • Josh D says:

            I’ve never been a fan of Bedoya’s, and yes I’d include him in the under performers. I’d also point to him playing better through the middle and general tactics for his more defensive play.

            I’d also point to Dempsey, Jones, Cameron, Howard, Johnon, Brooks, and Beasley as our core guys all of whom play abroad. Besler is the only core guy who plays in MLS, and Jozy was injured too early to judge. Bradley had an awful tournament so I won’t include him in the spine that led us out of the group.

            • GW says:

              Mr D.

              I would argue Cameron, former MLS lifer recently conscripted by Stoke, was outperformed by MLS lifers, Besler, Gonzo and the Crofton Flash, Mrs. Beckerman’s son Kyle.
              I would temper that by noting that when Cameron moved to the EPL, he went to a team not that dissimilar in style and philosophy from MLS. Geoff is a better player, better enough to be fairly soild at the World Cup, but I’m not sure he is a quantum leap better than when he was at Houston.
              Even though all four are past the prospect stage. I would rate all four as more or less equal in terms of potential and talent.

          • Louis Z says:

            Bedoya less effective, in what way?

    • Jacknut says:

      I’m sorry, but how is England or their fans expect them to get any better if their players aren’t playing against the best competition…..

    • Mike says:

      The USMNT will not achieve a higher level than we are today until the MLS gets better. That’s why it’s key that top players stay in the MLS and don’t go off to Europe to develop personally and leave the MLS to play at a lower level. It’s also key that the salary cap be increased and allow another designated player, all things that will happen in time,
      but we can’t keep thinking we can send a couple dozen players to Europe and get a top level national team. The continued success of the MLS is the only hope to continue the growth of the national team

  5. Zocklo says:

    btw….What’s with Jermaine Jones and the MLS? Guessing it’s money, MLS offers are not what he thinks he should get. Hope things work out.

    • Josh D says:

      Probably money and location. He already has a house in LA so I’m sure that’s where he wants to be. LA might not want to use a DP slot on him.

      I’d happily have him in DC and personally take him out on the town to show him the city. But we, DC, don’t spend money any more. It’s sad, because Jones is the perfect Olsen player.

      • soccerhorn says:

        LA has no DP slot to offer. You only get three – Omar, Keane, and Donovan all have multiple years left on their contracts. Keane and Donovan aren’t going anywhere. So the only hope the Galaxy have of landing Jones – or, rather, the only hope Jones has of playing in LA – is that Omar gets sold to Europe or Mexico.

      • Louis Z says:

        I can see LAG trying to move Gonzalez to get Jones.

  6. 150 reasons says:

    Go abroad.

    Zusi, Besler, Gonzalez, Ydelin. Find decent midtable clubs to start on. Make a million dollars. Achieve yor dream

    Staying to help “build MLS”. Thats years in the making. Make ur cash and do your nation proud

    • beachbum says:

      just don’t think it’s that simple an equation; each case is different. take Besler for example
      link to cjonline.com

    • Twomilerule says:

      Zusi, is not good enough to garner a million dollars! He was consistently the weakest link on the WC starting 11. He lacks speed, technical ability in the field of play. Overall the game moves to fast for him for his positive assets to be used at the international level. In league play his negatives would be exposed week in and week out.

  7. 150 reasons says:

    Why pay Omar 1.5 million? Thats the kinda cash yoy could bring over say a Jackson MArtinez or an aging big star like Andrea Pirko.

    Young Yanks should go abroad to play. They are being overvalued here so now they no longer wanna fight it out for a spot in Europe ala Bradley, Friedel, Bradley

    if a tean like West Ham is the best u can get©, go for it. Not as if Besler or Gonzalez are above them. Good to great performances for 2-3 yeara can get u a move to a much bigger club

    • Brian I says:

      1.5 isn’t getting Jackson Martinez…unless you’re talking about a different Jackson Martinez and not the Colombian International.

      • Kevin_H says:

        And with Lampard set to make 8MM, I can’t see 1.5MM for Pirlo being very realistic

    • Alex H says:

      The reason that Omar got $1.5M is that prior to the signing the Galaxy were 2 teams. The one with Omar on the field won championships and the one with Omar on the bench / injured / away leaked goals. Ironically the Galaxy D has played this season for long stretches without Omar and acquitted itself well so I would not be surprised if the shopped him abroad and brought on an attacking DP.

  8. Ryan B says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think “abroad” has much interest. If they did, he’d be there. I also think you’re being generous with the “other half of the pairing” description. Guys like Omar need to get solid work day in and day out – if that’s with the galaxy then so be it.

  9. That_Guy says:

    Good to hear, but clearly this whole “American Soccer Revolution” is being over played in the USA. Hasn’t been a move up after the USA’s “successful” World Cup. Just rumors and players staying where they are comfortable.

    Some one make a move! More than anything the USA needs players abroad, for MLS and the USMNT!

    • away goals says:

      Same thing happened with our guys after south africa. I think the last american to really benefit from world cup exposure was lalas.

    • Landy Cakes says:

      That’s because they can get paid a lot more money staying where they are. There’s no real reason for Matt Besler to go to Europe. There’s way to many horror stories of player roamng around like nomads trying to catch on, like Jozy and then as soon as you have a good season you’re expected to try to go to a different club and start over completely? Fuck that shit, basically.

  10. Duke says:

    I think he should go. It would bring him back to earth in short order. European teams have little use for defenders that aren’t that good at playing defense and he’d be riding pine real fast…. unless he landed on a really bad team

  11. FRANK says:

    DONT THINK OMAR IS GOOD ENUFF
    BUT MAYBE

  12. chuck says:

    for Omar, abroad = LigaMX

    He’ll be the tallest player there.

  13. Clint says:

    I thought LA signed Euros not send players there

  14. Jack says:

    If Klinsmann really wants guys playing in Europe pushing them self to a higher level, he should have rewarded players like Ream, Shea and Agudelo for at least trying. If you want players to push them self you have to be prepared ,that some might fail. However he says one things then does another by taking guys like Wondo and Davis to the World Cup. Certainly sending mixed messages as to what he wants from his players.

    • GW says:

      “If Klinsmann really wants guys playing in Europe pushing them self to a higher level, he should have rewarded players like Ream, Shea and Agudelo for at least trying. If you want players to push them self you have to be prepared ,that some might fail. However he says one things then does another by taking guys like Wondo and Davis to the World Cup. Certainly sending mixed messages as to what he wants from his players.”

      Jack,

      Your philosophy sounds a lot like those soccer mom leagues where everyone gets a prize and everyone plays and everyone wins.

      That is not how it is in the leagues where JK played. Even if you go to a World Cup you are not guaranteed playing time and only one team wins the World Cup.

      Ream, Shea and Agudelo did not go to Europe only to increase their chances of playing for JK.

      They also get a reward for their European efforts; the professional satisfaction of testing themselves against the best opposition they can find and money, much more than what they were getting in MLS.

      So it’s a little silly to say those guys went to Europe just on JK’s say so. In the first place they had to be good enough to get asked.

      Ream has done well and has won himself a new contract for more money than he was going to make in MLS and possible future consideration for the USMNT.

      Shea has not done as well but he still made a lot more money than, for example, Matt Besler, and is still in the USMNT picture. By the way he did not consult with JK on his
      move and it is unclear to me if Tim and Juan did as well.

      As for Juan the jury is still out on him but chances are good that he will get a good
      situation.

      JK is doing what all national team managers do, telling the player pool that they need to be as good as they can be. Davis and Wondo weren’t going to get a shot at Europe so they turned up at camp in the best shape and form they could manage and it was good enough.

      Ream never got himself into a camp for consideration so his late run of form came too late and he was not in competition with Wondo and Davis.

      Shea was completely out of form and out of the picture. You are the only person who thinks Shea should have been taken to Brazil.

      Juan has never impressed JK and was not in great form and Wondo, his competition, had, as Landon himself said, a camp where he was blowing everyone else away,

  15. Dennis says:

    After the 7-0 thrashing by ManU, I am not sure Gonzales stock went up. Even if he personally had a great game, he was guilty by association and that will cool most of this speculation.

    • Jack says:

      He didn’t have a great game, he didn’t have a bad game either because he didn’t play a single minute. He is still coming off an injury.