022613_isi_packwoodwill_usmntu17jd102709107 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
Americans Abroad

Breaking Bad: Three U.S. Prospects Suffer Injuries

First Will Packwood landed awkwardly. Then Marc Pelosi fell victim to a vicious challenge. One week later, Kyle Scott suffered a similar fate. Three American prospects in the U.K., three broken legs.
BY Matt Wagner Posted
February 26, 2013
3:30 PM
A trio of American soccer prospects have suffered bad breaks in England this year—literally.

Will Packwood, Marc Pelosi, and Kyle Scott—all of them teenagers—fell to compound fractures in game action and now have at least nine months of recovery ahead of them.

Of the three, Birmingham City’s Packwood—currently ranked 97th in the ASN 100—was the oldest and the furthest along the progression curve, going through the club’s youth academy system for five years before signing a professional contract last summer. In the 2012-2013 season, the defender made seven appearances for the senior team across all competitions.

His injury occurred on a rather routine play in the Blues’ third round FA Cup match against Leeds United. The Concord, Mass. native jumped up to meet a long pass from Leeds goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, with Luciano Becchio rising up to challenge the American. Becchio’s challenge wasn’t malicious and in fact seemed harmless. Packwood’s landing was the problem. He hit the ground awkwardly and held his left leg in agony and needed to be carried off the field on a stretcher. After watching a video of the incident, it’s easy to see why his teammates were in tears. In fact, it’s hard to watch. The diagnosis: he fractured both his tibia and fibula.

“It is a horrendous injury—I heard the snap from the touchline,” Birmingham City coach Lee Clark said to reporters after the match. “It is a dreadful blow for the boy because he is such an honest, genuine, and talented young player. There can be no blame attached to Becchio for what happened because it was a genuine challenge and a complete accident.”

Another American, Liverpool U-21 midfielder Marc Pelosi, suffered a similarly gruesome injury on February 17.

Like Packwood, Pelosi’s stock has risen with his club team. The 18-year-old American was a staple on Liverpool’s U-21 team that went unbeaten in the U-21 Premier League Group 3, is second in the Elite Group, and made the knockout stages of the Next Gen Series. Pelosi scored four goals and recorded one assist during the season.

Liverpool had such high hopes for his potential that the coaches added the left-footed midfielder to the club’s Europa League roster—a tremendous honor.

Unfortunately, Pelosi never got the chance for a call up, getting injured in the U-21 team’s 2-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion. Playing defensive midfielder, Pelosi stole the ball a few yards outside his 18-yard box and started going forward. After a few strides, he met Liam O’Neil, who drilled Pelosi’s right leg in a tackle, and there went Pelosi’s season. Diagnosis: broken tibia and fibula. “It was a horrific challenge and everyone who witnessed it on the day was very shaken by it,” Liverpool academy assistant coach Phil Roscoe wrote in an academy blog post on Sunday. “Marc had a very good game, there were just a few minutes to go, and the challenge was made. To witness that type of injury was difficult for all who saw it.”

As if these two injuries weren’t enough, one week after Pelosi fell, compatriot Kyle Scott also broke his leg in a match. The British-American, who plies his trade in the Chelsea youth academy and is the brother of former U-17 USMNT player Kristian Scott, just joined the U.S. soccer setup last fall. He was set to participate in another U.S. youth camp in a couple of weeks.

Scott won’t be making the trip to California, however, as the bad luck of Americans came back into play yet again when the Chelsea U-16 team played against the Fulham U-16 team on Saturday. The details aren’t well known at this point, but he broke his leg and is now on the long road back to the field—just like Packwood and Pelosi.

This is Matt Wagner's first piece for American Soccer Now.

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