McBride Leaves Fulham, Returning Home

During halftime of the England vs. USA friendly, I ran across this bit of news via EPL Talk (quickly becoming my new favorite time-waster): Brian McBride is leaving Fulham to return home to the States.

From the International Herald Tribune:

“I take great pride in the fact that my last appearance for Fulham saw the club maintain its Premier League status,” McBride said. “I leave with some wonderful memories from my time at Fulham, and the club will always be in my heart.”

Hear. Hear.

That leaves only three US-born players at Fulham: Clint “Deuce” Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Kasey Keller (hoping he stays).

(Note to my buddy, White: See this picture? This is why I can’t back Italy for Euro 2008.)

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Boca’ dropped from the Cottagers

Photo from Goal.comI just read on EPLTalk that Carlos Bocanegra was released from the Fulham FC squad. Somewhat ho-hum news. He hadn’t played much last season. And was a tad overrated.

Roy Hodgson also signed Aussie keeper, Mark Schwarzer. Let’s hope this doesn’t spell the end of Kasey Keller’s tenure at Fulham (or the Premiership). He’s long in the tooth, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing his green jersey in goal. If he goes, that will leave only three Yanks on the squad.

Good news to hear that Jimmy Bullard should be sticking around. He’s fun to watch. It’s like watching the neighborhood hero take on the bullies from two streets over.

The Champion’s League final between Man U and Chelski was exciting to watch. I got to catch it during one of my “work from home” days. Although it was a bit like watching a Yankees-Red Sox series, it was still fun to watch. I didn’t really care to see either side win. I must admit, though, that it was tough to see John Terry slip on his penalty (and let Christiano of the hook).

I’m looking forward catching as much of Euro 2008 as I can. The Germans are favorites at 5/1. Usually, I like to back the English side. Since I can’t this time, I’m kind of leaning towards France, but I’ll probably let my allegiance grow organically.

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Yanks Reputation in “Proper” Football Safe for One More Year

I love underdogs. Can’t resist rooting for them. So when I became obsessed with this soccer video game titled, “Winning Eleven,” and decided that I needed to follow “proper” football (that’s what this guy from Liverpool I once met called it, as in “oh, you follow proper football, as well?”), I set out to find an underdog with the most potential to, as my friend Dave puts it, “justify my love.”

It didn’t take long for me to latch on to Fulham FC. They had a lot going for them in my book: their logo has a red/black/white color scheme (I’m naturally drawn to this scheme), they’re a London-based team, they play in an iconic stadium with a cool name–Craven Cottage–located on the River Thames, and most importantly, they have the most American-born footballers of any side in the Premiership: Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson, Carlos Bocanegra, and Kasey Keller.

Just one problem: in the words of Michael Davies, they were “absolute pants.” In the middle of this season, they were deep in the relegation zone, virtually guaranteed to drop from the Premiership. After a watching a few games, I pretty much lost faith in them. I figured they were goners and the Americans would be scattered throughout the American-footballers-too-good-for-the-MLS Diaspora. I began to tune out and refocused my attention on the baseball season (and the Dodgers!).

But somehow the Cottagers pulled it out. And I feel like a fraud for missing an amazing comeback. That’s what I get for doubting them. Lessoned learned, never count out a bunch of yanks. Wait till next year.

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