Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
This is the question most American soccer fans are asking themselves today. Why they are asking it is because Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu, two of the more hyped players in the US player pool in the last 5 years are headed to the Greek club after years of turmoil and let downs in England and Portugal/France respectively. Johnson was axed from Fulham, who is trying to cut some expenses. Adu, after a coaching change at then loan club Beleneses was sent back to Benfica, who have no need, nor want for the young American. It is understood that Johnson has signed a six month loan deal, at the end of which Aris will have an opportunity to buy him outright from Fulham. Adu, though it is unclear if Benfica simply released him from his contract or if there was a transfer fee involved, it seems will sign a one and a half year deal in the coming days.
What does this mean for the Americans? Well it serves as a lesser stage for these two maligned American's to shine on. EJ was over-matched in England, and though he enjoyed some success while on loan at Cardiff City, never really grabbed hold of his opportunities. Adu's Benfica misadventure was one of constant change. In his first season in Portugal Adu appeared in 11 matches and scored twice, including in a Champions League qualifier. But Benfica went through three managers, and the latter two saw no need for the young American. He was then loaned out to AS Monaco in France, where he only appeared 9 times in 6 months, then comes the most recent failed loan attempt, this time across town to Benfica rivals Belenenses. Following a manager change there Adu was axed and sent back to Benfica.
If these two can break into the starting 11 it will bring a wealth of confidence to many an American fan who have given up on both. Need I remind you that Johnson is only 25 and Adu only 20. There is plenty of time for both players to get their careers back on track and a move to a smaller league will only help separate both from the crowd.
Now some background on Aris FC:
- Founded in 1916
- Colors: Yellow and Gold
- Nickname: God of War (the club is named after the ancient Greek god of war Ares, hince the nickname)
- Manager: Hector Cuper (Argentina)
- City, Province: Thessaloniki, Macedonia
- Ground: Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium (Capacity 22,800)
- Fun Fact: Alexander the Great was born in the villiage of Pella, outside the city.
- Domestic League Titles: Three (1928, 1932, 1946)
- Domestic Cup Titles: One (1970)
- Last Season: 6th place
- Current season: 5th place