Thursday, March 6, 2008

Getting to know: Michael Enfield

Yanks Abroad is a pretty decent spot to keep up with various US players as they ply their trade around the world. You get main page updates of players in the top European leagues as America spreads its footballing influence across the continent. In addition, there is this page, a round up of all of the currently tracked US players playing in leagues around the world.

I like to look every once in a while to see just who is least likely to make the jump from internationally playing up to the actual USNT. Is it Kenny Bertz, Grover Gibson, Preston Zimmerman or David Yelldell playing in the 3rd level of German soccer? Or is it Ryan Caugherty, trying to get by in Hungary? Maybe it's Jemal Johnson, currently in League Two in England. Well, for my money, it's Michael Enfield who, at the time of this writing, is barely hanging on in Australia, trying to get back from an injury before he gets cut by Sydney FC.

Before his ACL and MCL injury, Enfield made one full team appearance for Sydney. His signing in Australia can best be described as fortuitous. Enfield played his college ball at UCLA, and was fairly successful. He was drafted in the MLS Superdraft by locals LA Galaxy, but never impressed. After one season with the Galaxy, Enfield was released. Luckily for him, Enfield had a contact down under who could help him.

Enfield had worked with Sydney FC coach Jacob Goren years before when Goren coached Enfield at the Maccabi JCC games. For those soccer fans who are not Hirshey, these are localized Olympic-style competitions for those of the Jewish persuasion. Goren kept tabs on Enfield, and after the player's release from LA, Enfield was invited to a month's trial in Australia.

Once in Australia, Enfield shone. He played in two scrimmage matches against other professional squads, scoring in the first and then assisting on all three goals in the second. Enfield was offered a contract on the spot, signing a 2-year deal. He made his debut against Perth Glory on September 9, 2007, coming on as a sub. In so doing, Enfield was the first Jewish player ever in the A-League.

Later in September, Enfield suffered his injury in practice. Since going down, Sydney has bolstered its midfield reserves, likely pushing Enfield off into the periphery. This is wher he stands today, rehabbing until late in 2008.

All snark aside, I wish nothing but the best to Michael Enfield. He has a tough road back from his injury, then must break back into a squad made better in his absence. It's hard enough to have to chase your dream to the far side of the world, and to get injured while doing so must just suck.

UF believes in you Michael, do it for us!

1 comment:

Bigus Dickus said...

Is he Harry's brother?