Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Extra Time: Eddie Pope

Eddie Pope was kind enough to contribute mightily to the long-promised Top 5 List of transfers that weren't for Americans, so I'm going to air his full comments on the relevant matter contained within unedited. If you haven't seen it yet, you may wish to read that before the following text.


"At a couple points throughout my career, I had a lot of interest from many European teams. This was particularly true right after the 1998 World Cup. I had a number of very flattering offers, and a lot of teams were involved, including, at some level, AC Milan. To be honest, the team that I was closest to going to was Borussia Dortmund. They had just won the European Championship, Julio Cesar had left, and they were interested in bringing me in. MLS agreed to a deal with them, and they offered me a very good amount of money.

It was very flattering, but I chose not to do it. From very early in my career, I have had a strong desire to build the sport of soccer in the US. I thought long and hard about it, discussed it with my family, and decided that my priority was here. I have heard people say since that perhaps I should have gone abroad in order to pursue a new challenge or to test how good I really was at that time, but I didn't see it that way. I already felt that I could play at that level and I had coaches and other players who actually battled day in and out in Europe constantly telling me that I didn't belong in the MLS and that I needed to go to abroad as soon as possible. So, it was coming from all sides. Many even said that I would be helping the sport in the US even more if I went abroad. I didn't think so. At the time, MLS was a couple of years old and some guys were actually even moving in the opposite direction by leaving leagues in Europe and coming home. I felt then and feel now that those moves were paramount to the existence of this league. I do think I would've enjoyed a career in Europe as much as I did here. However, I was very lucky to have had such a wonderful career here in the US and I would be downright greedy to ask for anything more!

I'm proud of the decisions that many made, including myself, by becoming a part (even if it was just a small one) of helping to grow this league. And today, even after my playing career, I am still working toward the same ends, just now with the MLS Players Union."

- Greg Seltzer


UnitedDemon said...

What a mensch.

I hope our American stars feel the same way when their careers start to slow, having big American names in the league is the best way to develop the value of both the league and the players within.

DJ said...

That picture of Gooch's head on Ashley Cole's body is quite possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen.

Any news on American transfers that could happen in the future? Specifically Brek Shea?

Matt said...

One word: classy.

Mark said...

eddie pope is the man.

Paul Poenicke said...

Good for Eddie. I would've left for Deutschland, but he stuck around to help out US soccer and MLS. Quality character, quality player.