U.S. soccer’s Shaq is making gains in Spain

Тема в разделе "Наш Город", создана пользователем jenny holms, 26 мар 2018.

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    Florida-born Shaq Moore has started five La Liga matches this season. (Tales Azzoni/Associated Press)
    RALEIGH, N.C. — Spain Soccer Jersey For decades, U.S. soccer players have set out for Europe to hatch or elevate pro careers. Their primary destinations have been the top tiers in England and Germany, the Dutch league and the Scandinavian circuit.

    Few have landed — and even fewer have thrived — in Spain, home to La Liga, to the epic rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    This season, though, Deportivo La Coruna long came Shaquell Moore, a largely unknown American defender for Levante UD by way of Florida, Georgia, Texas and two smaller Spanish teams, one of which didn’t pay him for months and soon went under.

    Known by one name at his Valencia-based club, “Shaq” has started five La Liga matches and entered as a sub in another. He started twice in the Copa del Rey tournament. His rise earned a first invitation to U.S. national team training camp, which began this past week in North Carolina and will culminate Chelsea Soccer Uniforms Tuesday with a friendly against Paraguay at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

    At 21, Moore is among several promising young players enlisted to begin turning the fortunes of a program that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.


    “All the guys are welcoming and it’s been an easy transition,” the right back said. “I know a good bunch of these guys, so it’s been cool.”

    [ He has a Serbian accent Wales Rugby Team , scores goals in the Netherlands and may help rebuild U.S. men’s soccer ]

    Moore was well known inside the U.S. system — he captained the under-17 national team and started twice at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup — but until this past fall, had not made enough of a splash in his pro career to warrant a look on the senior level. Among the top young players overseas, he toiled in the shadows of, among others, German-based Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie AC Milan Soccer Shirts .

    Last fall, after spending a year with Levante’s reserve squad, Moore began to earn first-team assignments. Injuries to others allowed him to climb the depth chart, and his debut came in a cup match against Girona on Oct. 26. Three days later — and four days before his 21st birthday — he started a league game at Eibar USA Soccer Jerseys . “It was a really good week,” he said.

    Only three U.S. national team players have ever started in La Liga: goalkeeper Kasey Keller (Rayo Vallecano, 1999-2001), forward Jozy Altidore (Villarreal, 2008, ’10-11) and defender Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga, 2012-13). Keller and Onyewu were deep into their careers; Altidore was with his second club.


    On consecutive weekends, Moore played 90 minutes against Las Palmas, Atletico Madrid and Malaga.

    The biggest moment came Jan. 7, North Queensland Cowboys when he started against Barcelona at famed Camp Nou stadium. Playing on the right corner meant confronting superstar Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba, an elite left back. There was also interaction with the greatest of them all, Messi. In the 65th minute, behind by two goals in what became a 3-0 defeat, Moore forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into making a superb save.

    For a young American facing soccer royalty, “there is no time to reflect,” he said. “If you think about it, ‘Oh, I am actually here’ and give them too much respect, they can kill you. I was just thinking about competing. You learn you have to be ready. In this league, you have to be 100 percent aware of everything all the time.”

    Moore earned good reviews, including two 7s on the 1-10 scale issued by various media outlets.

    Four days later, he started against Espanyol in a round-of-16 cup defeat. Since then, with veterans Pedro Lopez and Coke ahead of him in the pecking order, Moore has spent most of his recent time with the reserve squad.


    Nonetheless, it’s been a breakthrough campaign for a player born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who moved at age 10 to greater Atlanta with his family — his father represented Trinidad and Tobago a few times — and entered residency with the U.S. U-17 team in Bradenton, Fla., and then FC Dallas’s academy. However, he said, “my goal was always to go to Europe.”

    Moore’s stint with third-division Huracan was over in six months because of the third-division club’s financial issues. “I was thinking, ‘Wow, I came all the way over here for this?’ It makes you grow up a little bit. I’m glad I stuck it out.”

    He moved to second-tier Oviedo’s B team before reconnecting with Huracan’s former sporting director, Jose “Herni” Hernandez, now at Levante. His contract is through 2020, with two option years.

    “He went to lower leagues in Spain and put in the work and was dedicated in making it to the next level,” said Richie Williams, the former U.S. U-17 head coach now assisting the senior squad. “These kids have the right mentality. They want to be pros, they want to play at a high level and they want to represent the national team.”
     
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