71014_isi_brovskyjeb_mlstq051714116 Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com
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NYCFC's Jeb Brovsky Could Play in Champions League

The 25-year-old Colorado native will soon start playing for NYC FC—his third consecutive expansion team. Before then, however, he will be stationed in Norway and could play in a pretty big tournament.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
July 10, 2014
3:07 PM
THE SECOND ROUND of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League opens next week—a point when many clubs get involved in the tournament for the first time. Very few American players are set to play in the world’s premier club tournament this year and it is very possible that soon Jeb Brovsky could be the only one.

Brovsky, 25, found his way into the Champions League qualifiers through a series of events that unfolded over the past month. New York City FC is set for its debut MLS season in 2015 and has already started to acquire players. The first was Spanish superstar David Villa. The second, Brovsky, came via trade with Montreal Impact.

Looking to keep both players in form and occupied ahead of its debut next March, NYCFC has loaned both Villa and Brovsky out to clubs with whom it has an affiliation. Villa was sent to Melbourne City in Australia’s A-league which, like NYCFC, is owned by Manchester City. Brovsky was loaned for the remainder of 2014 to Norway’s Stromgodset, which has a cooperation agreement with Manchester City.

In 2013 Stromgodset won Norway’s Tippeligaen title and will now open its Champions League campaign with a two-game qualifying series against Romania’s Steaua Bucharest. The first leg is set for Wednesday, July 16 in Norway.

As of now, Brovsky, Julian Green at Bayern Munich, and Sacha Kljestan at Anderlecht are the only Americans set for the Champions League. Kljestan’s status at Anderlecht is very much uncertain and playing time at Bayern will be very difficult for the teenage Green.

For Brovsky, the sudden turn of events has him both excited and eager to play in the biggest club tournament in the world—even if it is at an early round of qualifying.

“It’s been pretty wild,” Brovsky told American Soccer Now. “I think it’s been fantastic as a positive experience and I am looking forward to the opportunity. Hopefully I can do some good things overseas and come back to New York City and start a great campaign there.

"It’s always been a dream of mine, quite honestly, since I’ve been young—especially to get a chance to play in Champions League qualifying and stuff like that. As an American youth player, that’s stuff you dream about.”

Of course with the games less than a week away, Brovsky will not have much time to get adjusted into the team if he is to take part in the games against Bucharest. He has yet to meet a single one of his teammates or take part in a practice. He is familiar with Scandinavian soccer through MLS teammates Troy Perkins, Patrice Bernier, and Zarek Valentin, but none of it is first hand.

“Going forward, this is important for the club and I am just there to help in any way I can,” Brovsky said of the upcoming Champions League qualifying series. “If the coach calls upon me to come in, I’ll certainly be ready. I know that Bucharest is a very good club and they might be the favorites. But this is a great opportunity for me and the club and I hope it turns out for the best.”

It’s not all about the Champions League for Brovsky during his time in Norway. Stromgodset is also contending in the Tippeligaen once again, and currently sits in second place through 14 games, six points behind league leaders Molde. Founded in 1907, the club has won two Norwegian titles and five Norwegian Cups.

While Brovsky is primarily a right back, he is also capable of playing on the left or in the midfield and it is unclear where he will lineup for Stromgodset.

“We are very excited to welcome Jeb to our team for the next six months,” said Jostein Flo, Stromsgodset’s sporting director. “Not only is Jeb a versatile player who can play as a defender and a midfielder. He’s a great addition to our squad, and we know he will make an impact both on and off the field during his time at Stromsgodset.”

Of course, Brovsky’s main goal right now is to maintain his sharpness so that he can join New York City FC next year and help the team from the beginning. The Lakewood, Colo., native enjoyed a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame before Vancouver selected him with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 MLS draft.

After one season in Vancouver, Montreal grabbed Brovsky in the 2012 Expansion Draft and he went on to play 65 games for the Impact from 2012-2014. New York City FC will be his Brovsky’s third consecutive expansion team, but after meeting the staff and other members of the organization, he insists this will be a different experience.

“I can already tell that New York City FC is doing everything professionally and correct from the start," he said "I flew into New York for a couple of days and I met the staff. I met Jason [Kreis, the head coach] who I knew from the past. Everyone in that organization is doing everything they can to build a competitor from the start. I don’t think it’s going to be looked at as an expansion year. I think they’re looking at it like they need to compete for a championship right off the bat.”

“I’m excited to be part of it and I know it’s a great move for my career,” he added. “To play under Jason and to learn under guys like Claudio Reyna, it’s going to be a dream come true for me.”

Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter and share your thoughts on his thoughts below.

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