Lots to tell on the Wizards four featured players in Europe from the last two seasons:
- Josh Wolff dressed but did not play in 1860 Munich’s 0-0 draw against Alemania Aachen last Sunday. 1860 now sits in 8th place in the Bundesliga 2 heading into their Monday match versus St. Pauli (fellow American Gregg Berhalter will not be available due to yellow card accumulation). Josh, whose contract expires this June, has not played in their last two games and has not started since February 17th and has no goals this season. New York Times soccer reporter Jack Bell caught up with Josh last week:
For Wolff, the move to Germany has brought mixed results. He said that he, his wife and two children have settled in nicely in Munich. He has learned to speak German and said he enjoyed the opportunities playing in central Europe afforded him, in terms of travel and cultural experiences. But the lack of playing time is clearly a frustration for Wolff, a striker from Stone Mountain, Ga. (which is also the hometown of another former MLS star, Clint Mathis — whom Wolff talked about to Big Apple Soccer this week).
“It’s been a good experience, but the last month has been difficult because I haven’t played,” said Wolff, who is signed through the end of the Bundesliga season. “But this is a different situation. I wanted to get myself out of the comfort zone. I left the U.S. to take a chance. I wanted the experience of coming here and testing myself. Of course it’s a bit tough when things are not going your way, but you just have to keep playing. I have no regrets, not at all. You have to be open-minded and realize that there are going to be ups and downs.”
- Goalkeeper Chris Konopka signed a one-year deal with Bohemian FC on Wednesday, ahead of their season opener today against Galway United. Chris, though not yet listed on the team website, will be competing with Brian Murphy — last season’s goalkeeper of the year in the Irish league — for the starting spot. Chris replaced him in the 52nd minute of their final preseason friendly on February 29th against Shelbourne FC (Irish 2nd division), conceding a late own goal (shown here at the 1-minute mark). He is pictured here in that game. He comments candidly about the new opportunity:
“I am very excited and extremely honored to become part of such a fabled club like Bohs,” Konopka said. “The whole organization has treated me first class ever since I arrived in Dublin. I’m going to work hard every day and contribute in whatever way I can to help Bohs take home a league championship this season and to help us advance far into all the Cups and European competitions that we will play in. I think the team will be very competitive this year. All the guys have a great attitude.”
“Pat, Dermot, Liam [O’Brien] and Dave [Henderson] are probably the most technical group of coaches I have ever had the opportunity to work with,” Konopka said. “They really know their stuff and can bring the best out in a player. It’s like having the national team coaching staff teaching you on a daily basis. I’ve picked-up so much in my short time here under their guidance. The entire pre-season has been top notch and I’m looking forward to working with them for the rest of the year. The whole environment is tremendous. I am positive that being here playing in Europe as a member of Bohs will help advance my professional development.”
- Will John and Randers FC get their first taste of serious competition this Sunday in the Danish Cup quarterfinals against Brondby IF (Danish 1st division). The winner of the Cup qualifies for UEFA Cup and Will is among those selected to the 16-player roster for the match. He started in a 1-0 preseason victory on February 29th against Brabrand IF (Danish 3rd division) and came on in the 56th minute of a 2-1 exhibition win against Vejle Boldklub (Danish 2nd division) on Monday. Will and fellow American Lee Nguyen were featured in the official Randers FC magazine last week, as well. Read a recap in English here.
- Finally Eddie Johnson and Fulham FC travel to Blackburn tomorrow, live on FSC at 9 am, a week after getting his first start against Manchester United. He played 90 minutes at wide midfield in the 3-0 loss and technically had a goal disallowed, though the tap in came well after the whistle had blown for offsides. With 10 games remaining, the Cottagers sit in 19th position and are 6 points shy of relegation safety.
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