- It turns out that AS Roma has won the Danny Szetela lottery. Szetela will join fellow U-20 Yank Gabe Ferarri after his Columbus contract runs out midway through the 07-08 Serie A campaign.
What a signing. It seemed to be a crapshoot where Szetela would be headed, from both sides of the Old Firm to Glatasaray in Turkey to EPL mediocrity with Everton and Middlesborough, but Szetela seems to have picked the best of the lot by signing with perennial power AS Roma. No doubt Szetela will mature into a more technical, decisive player in that kind of environment.
- Also, Benny Feilhaber is close to a deal with EPL newcomers Derby County. Seems as if County has a quota of one token American for the coming season, and by God, they're determined to fill it. This, however sudden, is a great chance for Feilhaber to see significant first-team minutes in the EPL immediately. If he can impress England like he has Germany, there is no doubt that he could become a Derby mainstay from the outset. People should be very excited about this.
What's remarkable, though, is that Feilhaber is willing to look at other offers. From what I understand, Hamburg was making moves that placed Feilhaber higher on the depth chart under the theory that Feilhaber would become a crucial piece of the club's '07-'08 campaign. After Alexander Lass left for Wolfsburg, Hamburg's options were to keep Feilhaber, or sell him and buy another like him. Feilhaber was perfectly willing to do whatever it took to impress Huub Stevens, but Hamburg, it seems, are less picky than they seem.
Great opportunity for Benny. Good luck.
- YA's Best XI: Preston Zimmerman is finally out, and it's got some interesting tidbits. Zimmerman informs us that according to what he's heard of the coaches' timetable for his progress, they will be looking to call him up to the first team midway through the season. They are impressed with him and are positive he will do well. This assures me, because for a while I was worried that Rongen might have been keeping Zimmerman on the bench for some kind of rational reason. Also of note: Zimmerman prefers to arrive at each training session an hour early (!) so he can chill and clear his head. Very serene. Good luck to him this season; we're all expecting big things.
- YA also has this curious exclusive, which they're dubbing "Maximum Access." They've given a young American abroad, Max Cream, 19, his own serial in which he'll chronicle his budding European soccer career, currently in the German fourth division with SV Meppen. Max will receive no assistance from YA aside from final editing and he'll receive no accreditation as a member of the YA staff. The only reason this exists, I would think, is because Max Cream has a fascinating life story and YA doesn't think anyone could tell it better than Max himself. But that doesn't matter: it's a good read and I'm waiting for more. I can't help but root for the young gun this coming season.
- General aside: the coming season is a great season for Americans abroad. This is really exciting. DMB is already impressing at the Ibrox, Freddy is finding Benfica a great fit, Zizzo is ready for his Hannover challenge, Zimmerman is set to soar, Ferrari is ready to debut, Heath Pearce is hunting glory, Michael Bradley is positioned to take center stage with Heerenveen, Benny Feilhaber could potentially become a Premier League starlet, and now Danny Szetela is giving America the opportunity to apologize for Alexi Lalas. There is plenty to watch and plenty to be hyped up for. And it all starts in a week.