Alejandro Bedoya is making his World Cup debut this year, after being heartbreakingly excluded from the 2010 team. He’s played all over the world, and during regular season is currently a midfielder for FC Nantes, in France.
Here are five things you need to know about one of America’s best players.
1. Bedoya Made A Name For Himself In Sweden
Bedoya was crushed in 2010 when he didn’t make the American World Cup team, which was likely what amped him to kick up his game (pun intended). After a season in Scotland, plagued by nitpicky injuries and oft-overlooked for his American Rangers teammates, Bedoya made a triumphant return to the Swedish Helsingborgs IF. It was there that he began to wow the crowd with impressive scoring skills. That year he played mostly as a starter, in almost twice as many games as he had played with the Rangers.
2. Soccer Runs In His Family
Running does too, and goal scoring, and kicking… Bedoya was born in New Jersey, but is of Colombian descent and was raised in Miami, Florida. His father played pro soccer in Colombia for the Millonarios Fútbol Club; his grandfather played for Deportes Quindío—another professional Colombian team based in Armenia. Bedoya started early, playing with a youth team called the Miami Fury, where he earned a reputation for a hard work ethic and, according to the Miami Herald, “boundless energy.”
3. Bedoya Has Been Playing For The US National Team Since 2009
His first game with the US National team was a friendly match against the Honduran national team in January 2010, earning his first senior cap. The US lost that match, but Bedoya earned himself a place on the short list for the 2010 World Cup, from which he was later cut. Regardless, later that year Bedoya made his first international start with the US national team in a friendly match against Brazil in August. He didn’t score his first international goal until a game against Guatemala in 2013.
4. He’s Considered An Intelligent Player
Some players have spunk and style; others are more classically trained. Bedoya is in the latter camp. Bedoya began playing with Nantes in 2013, and he scored his first goal for the club less than two months after his first appearance with them. Michel Der Zakarian, Nantes’ manager, told Ligue1.com that Bedoya was a “technically excellent” player, whose “movement is always intelligent” and who “makes the right decisions.” It may have been Nantes that made the right decision, though; after that first win Bedoya went on a scoring streak that put Nantes into fourth place.
5. Bedoya Helped Win The CONCACAF Gold Cup In 2013
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football governs the sport in the region. After snagging the silver in 2011, Bedoya played a game that allowed America to bring home the gold two years later. Bedoya said later that his desire to play in the 2014 World Cup was what drove him to play the CONCACAF game that he did.