FULL NAME: Alejandro Bedoya
LAUNCH DATE: 29 April 1987
CURRENT CLUB, LEAGUE: Nantes, French Ligue 1
POSITION: Winger, attacking midfielder
INTERNATIONAL SERVICE: 37 caps for the United States since 2010
ON THE RESUME: Began his pro career in central midfield for Sweden's Örebro SK, where he played two seasons. Played one campaign each for Rangers (Scottish Premier League), Helsingborgs IF (Swedish Allsvenskan), and current club Nantes. Played all four games for the United States at the 2014 World Cup on the right wing, making three starts. Led all USA players with twelve total caps in 2014. One of six current nominees for U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.
WHY NYCFC SHOULD APPROACH BEDOYA: Though raised in South Florida, Bedoya was born minutes from the George Washington Bridge in Bergen County, New Jersey, and played his college soccer in the northeast. For a New York City FC team yet to take shape, the arrival of a Tri-Stater with World Cup experience would signal a strong step toward establishing an authentic identity. Let's face it, nearly all the early buzz around the club has been Eurocentric, given the (understandably) heavy-handed promotion of Guaje Villa and Frank "The Tank" Lampard, the home uniform criticized for its lack of contrast from Manchester City's, and the inescapable corporate presence of MCFC's beloved Etihad Airways.
Assigning the third DP slot to a visible American international would demonstrate a clear desire to distinguish this club as something other than a corporate subsidiary or "farm team" for the reigning Premier League champions, which ought to be a main objective. To put it another way, New York is its own brand. After all, Manchester doesn't have a roller coaster on the beach. Manchester doesn't sell one-dollar pizza slices at three in the morning. Manchester doesn't have Mike Francesa.
Bedoya is a Jurgen Klinsmann favorite, but a move to MLS would not be seen as stunting his development as a player: at age 27, that period has passed. A team knows what it's getting from him at this point in his career – a technically-oriented attacker ready to run for the full ninety minutes – which cannot be said for the USA's younger stars still seeking a niche.
Ultimately, this signing would satisfy a team need in the X's and O's. The current roster contains no wingers and only one proper attacking player. Signing a prolific wide man will take pressure off the club with one less position to fret over going into to the upcoming MLS drafts.
WHY NYCFC SHOULD LOOK ELSEWHERE: If we have learned anything from the new club's early marketing and public relations efforts, presentation matters. The on-field product will be irrelevant if the fans aren't excited as hell, on their feet, and singing their cabooses off at a sold-out Yankee Stadium, and Alejandro Bedoya is not a name that "moves the needle" for the main stream of stateside socceroos. He has never stayed for more than two seasons at any club, and though he was a consistent World Cup starter in Brazil, his work was not especially dynamic – Fabian Johnson, Graham Zusi, and DeAndre Yedlin all made more noise from the wide positions than Bedoya. NYCFC Football Director Claudio Reyna, himself a Tri-State native and Team USA veteran, will consider quality soccer first and foremost ahead of simply signing an American "just because."
A move to MLS would also create an uncomfortable situation for U.S. Soccer: Bedoya is currently the only first-choice American international starting games in one of the Big Five leagues in Europe. A departure from France's top flight would leave zero key American contributors whatsoever in England, France, Germany, Italy, or Spain.
Rumors persist among the NYCFC faithful over a number of Bedoya's USA teammates making themselves available for a move to the Five Boroughs, which we will cover here in the coming weeks. Add that to the false but tantalizing excitement over the club's pursuit of Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez, and one thing is clear in this uncertain time: New York City FC is backed by unparalleled resources and a network of influence that reaches worldwide. The nation's largest city and media market justifies a Designated Player that is equally large. The sky ought to be the limit for the Sky Blues: whoever DP number three may be, something tells me they'll find a way to pay him.
Is Bedoya the smart choice, or should the club strive for a bigger signing? We want to hear all of your questions, comments, and cheap shots! Drop us a line on @hudsonriverblue or blow Sam up on his direct line, @RealFakeSamDunn.