Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The AAotY Veteran's Committee

Okay, so here's the deal. I still have a few honoree write-ups to get to, but work and other stuff keeps coming up. So instead of making you wait for the full Monty, I'm going to post what I have so far and get the remainder up after the Gold Cup semis (I'll be on Canada/USMNT ratings double duty again).

And with that explanation, let's get to the old-timey era winners...

82-84 Jacques LaDouceur

I remembered the Haitian-born midfielder from his MISL days, but did not recall that he went on to earn 10 US caps. But yes, so he did. And more to the point here, LaDouceur also spent three years with Greek top flight side Panionios. He played 58 games there, and was named the team's best foreign player after his middle season.

78-79 David Brcic

Another guy who spent a lot of his career in indoor soccer, my St. Louis homey Brcic fared well on a brief loan from the New York Cosmos to Scottish side Morton. Pressed into service by injuries, the then-21-year-old played five league games and a pair of cup matches. Among his highlights were a 1-0 shut out of eventual Premiership champs Celtic and the penalty kick save that preserved a slim win over Aberdeen. In all, he went 2-1-4 with a 1.14 goals against average (the club conceded 1.5 per game over the rest of their season). Frankly, they should have tried harder to keep him around.

74-75 Bobby Smith

It doesn't happen much, but every once in a long while I will discover an American who played abroad that I'd never heard of. That's the case with Smith, who also had an overseas stay that was probably too short. The center back was loaned to Irish top flight outfit Dundalk for just one season, but he made quite an impression on the locals with his gung-ho style. The town newspaper even called Smith 'one of the most outstanding players of the season'. He played 25 games, including 18 in the league, as the Railwaymen finished fifth.

51-52 Joe Gaetjens

Sometimes, I feel like most folks think of the 1950 World Cup hero as a guy who walked out of the mist one day to score one of the biggest goals in USMNY history, and then disappeared into the ether. However, Gaetjens parlayed his sudden fame into a move to Ligue 1's Racing Paris. He only managed four games for them, but showed his value with two goals. It's a small sample, but I'm gonna count it.

48-49 Bill Regan

I'm going to be totally honest. I was unable to find out how long this guy played for Romford. Or what position he played. Or much of anything about him, really. What I do know is that he took part in a few very meaningful firsts. In the 1949 FA Amateur Cup final, Regan became the first American to play at Wembley, in the first title match played in that stadium, in what was the first amateur match ever televised. In front of 93,000 fans, they dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Bromley.

- Greg Seltzer

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