110812_johnsoneddie_isi_mlsack20120630110 Andrew Katsampes/isiphotos.com
Deep Thoughts?

American Soccer Needs Eddie Johnson

Whether or not Eddie Johnson deserves Comeback Player of the Year is a moot point. What matters is that the forward is once again playing well, and offers a path others can follow.
BY Noah Davis Posted
November 27, 2012
8:59 AM
This is not a post about the decision to award Eddie Johnson with Comeback Player of the Year. If you want deep thoughts on that subject, my man Steve Davis has you covered.

This is about what Eddie Johnson's success in MLS means to the American player pool, specifically at the forward position.

It's been a long, strange trip for the one-time can't-miss superstar since he left Kansas City in 2007. Sure, there were a few high moments during his time at Fulham, Cardiff City, Aris, and Preston North End, but they were mostly lows, culminating in that weird spell at Puebla last January.

Less than 12 months later, Johnson is winning MLS awards and, more importantly, playing well. He's back in the mix with the United States national team. Johnson, now 28, might not be a first-choice forward for Jurgen Klinsmann, but if you're bringing 23 guys to a tournament, he has to be on your roster, right? If you predicted that would be the case at this time last year, stop talking; you're lying.

But that's the way it is with the American team, especially at the forward position. The squad grows deeper every year, but it only slowly gets better. This isn't a problem, but it is a reality. What it means is that there are constantly opportunities for players who are struggling, who have shown they have the talent but aren't in the best club situations. Long story short: even forgotten USMNTers aren't that far away from donning the Stars and Stripes in a vital match. If that can't get you motivated, nothing will.

So Johnson deserves congrats for getting into shape, getting into form, and coming back from the netherworld. It's not the first time we've seen this path—hey 2010 Herculez Gomez, I see you there, hiding on the World Cup roster—and it's not the last time we will, either. For everyone involved with the Red, White, and Blue that's probably a good thing.

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