Alejandro Bedoya is officially a member of the Philadelphia Union. The United States men’s national team veteran was introduced to the Union fans today in a press conference. Not that he really needs much of an introduction if you’ve paid attention to American soccer at all in the last five years.
Bedoya is well-known for speaking his mind no matter how controversial his words may be. He’s made a lot of enemies over the years with some his social media battles, but his unfiltered persona is certainly a breath of fresh air in a world of cookie cutter interviews. During his first press conference as a Union player, it was no different.
Most of the negativity surrounding Bedoya’s move to MLS has been that he was “taking the easy way out” by leaving Europe and heading home for a conceivably bigger pay day. He refuted the first claim, saying that adjusting to MLS will be a challenge:
Bedoya: "I'm really looking forward to this next challenge, because it is going to be a challenge."— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) August 9, 2016
He revealed that his contract with the club is for 3.5 years. At 29 years old, Bedoya would be 32 when his contract with the Union (and MLS) expires. While it’s probably a stretch to claim this will be the last club he ever plays for, it’s hard to envision him returning to Europe in his career (unless it’s a short-term loan).
Bedoya: "I'm here now for three and a half years, and I hope I can pay Philly the respect back they've given me."— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) August 9, 2016
Never shy about giving his opinion, Bedoya gave his thoughts on the MLS acquisition process. When a formidable USMNT player decides he’s ready to come to MLS, he must go through a confusing process called the “Allocation Order”. Basically a list of teams who have first dibs on “returning” American players. Despite Bedoya never having played in MLS, the Chicago Fire (#1 in the Allocation Order) had first dibs on him. They in turn traded their spot to Philadelphia for a ton of Allocation money and other goodies. Basically, it’s really confusing and Bedoya said as much.
Bedoya on MLS's transfer process: "It was more confusing and complicated than it needed to be."— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) August 9, 2016
Shout out to the Haters:
Bedoya: "for people who wanna say im taking the easy way or whatever, it's a lot of BS"— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) August 9, 2016
More shots at critics of his move to MLS:
Bedoya on people who might criticize him for playing in MLS: "I don't care what people say."— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) August 9, 2016
In this day and age of the battle between people who are advocates for building up Major League Soccer into a great league and the avid U.S national team supporters, there’s always going to be backlash when a prominent USMNT player decides to leave the competitive environment that is Europe and come to MLS for better money and a more stable life/career.
The only way for Bedoya or any other player to handle that criticism is to keep their head down, work as hard as possible, and make sure the move doesn’t affect their form.
Arguments will be made that not all players have been able to do that. We’ll have to see how Bedoya handles it. Hopefully nothing changes and he continues to be a consistent performer for the national team.