As of right now the state of United States soccer is up in the air. Players that have established themselves as needed in the team get picked whenever their healthy, but that leaves almost 4-5 spots left on the pitch to fill with players who have played little to no international games at the senior level. Players like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Carlos Bocanegra are consistently picked, and they provide the veteran experience needed, but what the United States needs now is someone to get excited over.
Enter Brek Shea. Shea looked to be one of the most promising young US players in 2012, being subbed on in multiple friendlies and providing an immediate spark. Though plagued by injury, Shea has returned to soccer and now plays in the biggest league on the planets, the English Premier League for Stoke City.
Shea has all the qualities needed to become the next major star for the United States. He is brilliant on the ball, has excellent vision, high IQ for the game, and has a boatload of confidence. Match that with the fact he is super young and marketable to the new generation of people discovering United States soccer, it can be great for the United States.
The United States need someone they can market to the younger audiences that watch soccer, to get them excited, drive jersey sales, drive ticket sales, and ultimately help soccer take off in America. Shea can be that ambassador. Although now playing in England, Shea could help make soccer in America bigger than it is now in the post-Beckham era. Shea has the style and charisma that can relate to younger audiences, his eccentric hairstyles and tattoos show his youthfulness and style. He also is active on social networks, which we all know is huge with teenagers to young adults, what also helps is he actually interacts with his fans on social networks. You can find Shea regularly tweeting responses to people on twitter when he is active.
But what makes Shea exciting isn't just his social marketability, but also the fact he is a great player. Shea had a breakout year in 2010 with MLS side FC Dallas, playing 30 games and scoring 5 goals. He also led Dallas to the MLS playoffs that year. 2011 was the year he landed on bigger clubs radars. Playing 39 games for Dallas he scored 11 times and again led Dallas to the playoffs. He was elected an MLS All Star in 2011 and was also in talks to be 2011 MLS MVP. In November 2011 it was announced he would train with Arsenal. Now playing in the Premier League, Shea is sure to be a major piece for the USMNT, a team that desperately needs a spark.
Working his way to full match fitness, it is exciting to see if Brek Shea can become the United States new poster boy. I say he can, he has all the ability and the intangibles to be the next big thing not just in the US, but globally. The world is ready to Brekkenize.
What do you think? Is Brek Shea worth the hype? Is there another player you see being the new face of US Soccer?
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