Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
When 2013 began, Alejandro Bedoya was just another U.S. Men’s National Team hopeful, a player on the outside of Jurgen Klinsmann’s picture.
These days, he finds himself well inside.
Bedoya has seen his stock with the U.S. rise tenfold since his inclusion in January’s U.S. camp, going from someone who was on the radar to someone who has broken through after really making a case for himself. The 26-year-old midfielder, like several other Americans, used the Gold Cup in July as a launching pad to make it onto Klinsmann’s A team, but that was not the only place where he made strides.
On the club level, Bedoya has found a new challenge by signing with French side FC Nantes and he is off to a strong start there. It is for that reason, combined with his performances in a U.S. jersey in July and in the friendly against Bosnia & Herzegovina in August, that Klinsmann now sees him as a player deserving to be among the 23 that will compete for starting spots for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico in the coming days.
“Bedoya made a huge jump over the last seven, eight months just during my time now, because he came pretty late into my picture,” said Klinsmann. “He was with (the U.S. under previous head coach Bob Bradley) already, and compared to where he was in the January camp to where he is now, it’s just really wonderful to see.
“He became a lot more confident, he became a lot more mature and he proved that, he proved that during the Gold Cup and even in Bosnia. He proved that in his first game with Nantes against Paris Saint-Germain, it was very impressive how he played there for a very good club in the French first division.”
As was the case under Bradley, Bedoya is being looked at as an option on the right wing by Klinsmann. It is unlikely that Bedoya starts either of the upcoming two matches given that Landon Donovan and Graham Zusi are on the U.S. roster, but he could be a primary weapon off the bench given his high energy and strong work rate on both sides of the ball.
In any case, Bedoya has come a long way since being on the fringes of Klinsmann’s squad back in January, and that is in and of itself an achievement considering the deepening talent pool that the U.S. boasts.
“He deserves absolutely to be a part of that roster now going into Costa Rica,” said Klinsmann. “That gives us another option there with him and with Graham on the right flank. I think we’re looking really good.”