Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hammers strengthening links with the MLS

Could West Ham be the next Premier League club to import a player from across the pond?

The Hammers recently invited United States internationals Graham Zusi and Juan Agudelo, to spend time training with the first team at Chadwell Heath. Both Zusi and Agudelo are preparing for the upcoming MLS season and so being able to spend time with the Hammers was a great experience for the pair, who had no problems coping with the transatlantic transition.

Zusi, who plays for Sporting Kansas City, marvelled at how the radio airwaves were filled with football 24/7. "Every radio station over there is talking about soccer, instead of (American) football, basketball and baseball. It's just a constant thing over there, which is neat," Zusi said.

National teammate Agudelo, who plays for Chivas USA, was equally happy to have experienced training with West Ham, saying,
"The training itself is similar to how we train in the States, but it was great to see how a team like that in the EPL handles themselves and how the players handle themselves."

Upon their return to the States, Zusi and Agudelo reported for training with the US nation side and while Big Sam has given no indication of signing either player in the near future, both Zusi and Agudelo felt that the experience gave them an opportunity to not only learn, but also to showcase themselves.

Last season in the Championship, the Hammers gave a trial to American defensive midfielder George John, and although Allardyce decided not to sign him on a permanent contract, the invitation of yet more MLS players to train with West Ham would seem to be an indication that the MLS is an avenue that the manager, who spent time in the USA in the late 1970s during his playing career, is willing to go down when it comes to finding new talent.

By Neil Chatterton

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