Friday, May 05, 2006

About Gooch

I mentioned above that Oguchi Onyewu is one of my favorites on this team.
He's 6'4, about 200 pounds, and he's just a monster out there. Honestly. If he played in New York, they'd name a candy bar after him, or maybe a side of beef. Well, maybe not really.. if he played in New York, he'd play for the MetroStars, and nobody would know about him, but you get the idea.
I think his parents are Nigerian; he grew up in Maryland, went to college at Clemson, and left early to play in Europe. After a lack of success with a French club called Metz, he moved to Belgian side La Louviere, and settled in on a team in Belgium called Standard Liege, which is where he blossomed. (Ever notice how bizarre that some European soccer team names are ?)
His size and playing ability is what makes him unique for the US. Since soccer is an after-thought to most US athletes, the brightest prospects are tagged early for basketball, football and/or baseball, so we don't see many guys his size playing for us. When you see the teams lined up for anthems, it often looks like a Varsity-JV scrimmage.

While most of our players are fast, we have mostly finesse players on our team, and not many guys who are just pure force out there, but Gooch is. He plays centerback on defense, which means he's responsible for going one-on-one with the other team's main offensive players, and shutting down their attack, which is something he does well. Most people expect that after this tournament, a richer club in a more established league - perhaps Germany or England, will make a play for his services. That kind of thing happens often after World Cups. Bye-bye Brussels, Hello Everton.