That is Will John in Randers FC training gear. Apparently Will is on trial there until the end of January. And if that photo’s caption is to be believed, “The American dream for Will John is a contract by Randers FC and a career in European football.” American Lee Nguyen of PSV Eindhoven is also trying out there.
Who is Randers FC? A Danish Superliga team that currently sits in 6th out of 12 teams. Four other Americans current play in the league: Danny Califf (Aalborg BK), Tally Hall (Esbjerg), Robbie Russell (Viborg), and Jeremiah White (AGF Aarhus). Both Califf and White were called into the USMNT Training Camp yesterday.
Some might also ask, who is Will John? While we await more information on Will’s trial, allow me to profile one of the Wizards most often overlooked reserves.
I’d fathom it to say that Will John is better known in Kansas City as a Hawklet than as a Wizard. The former Rockhurst High School star won All-American accolades and Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year his senior season in 2002 when he tallied 36 goals and 20 assists in leading the Hawklets to the Class 4A championship game.
Recruited to St. Louis University, Will didn’t miss a beat playing for the Billikens. After being honored as a freshman All-American, he was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist his sophomore season. Compiling 19 goals and 9 assists over the two years, Will signed with Generation Adidas and entered the MLS SuperDraft early at age 19.
He was drafted in the 2nd round (18th overall) by Chicago. After playing in six games (200 minutes) for the Fire in his rookie season, John was traded in the offseason to Kansas City for Wizards veteran icon Diego Gutierrez and Chicago’s 2nd round draft pick. The move was given a fair amount of hype as Will was returning home (he’s from Overland Park) and he was a highly touted prospect. Nevertheless, his playing time dramatically decreased in KC. In 2006, he saw just 3 minutes of action and last season only 26; he did not make the bench for any of the team’s final five games this past season.
Bob Luder twice reported on John’s ambitions for more playing time. First in August of 2006 (Wizards Frustrate John (KC STAR)) and again in February of 2007 (John Ready to Put Best Foot Forward (KC STAR)). Below are excerpts from those articles:
“It’s been unbelievably frustrating,” John said over the phone Tuesday afternoon from Chicago. “I didn’t ask for the trade. They came and got me. You would think when a team comes and gets you they’d want to use you.” (8/16/06)
“When we had a couple of offensive guys leave for the World Cup, I thought that might open up some opportunities for some of the young, offensive players,” said John, who can play as an attacking midfielder or forward. “I’m pretty disappointed I haven’t made an impact.” (8/16/06)
“Just like all the guys, he’ll have a fresh look,” Onalfo said. “We’re going to encourage him to be dangerous in the final third (of the field) and be tactically solid. Hopefully, he’ll take the faith we show in him and turn it into success.” (2/13/07)
And one more from former Fire coach Dave Sarachan after trading Will:
“Although we only saw him for one season, I feel that Will has great potential as a young player in this league,” Sarachan said. “I have no doubt that, given the right opportunity, he can be a very productive player in MLS…” (1/11/06)
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