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Rumor Central: Owen Hargreaves? Seriously?

12 December 9:04 pm

Rumor Central: Owen Hargreaves? Seriously?

By Matthew Doyle

I tagged this as "Canadian Exports" because I'm sadistic.

For those Yanks who may not be familiar (I'm going to go right ahead and assume that all our Canuck readers absolutely are): Owen Hargreaves was born and raised in Calgary, living there — and developing as a soccer player there — until age 16, at which point Bayern Munich spotted him and signed him to a youth deal. He made his first team breakthrough early in the 2000-01 season, which just so happened to be the year that Munich won their most recent UEFA Champions League crown.

"Why haven't I heard of this guy in CONCACAF qualifying?" you're wondering.

It's because Hargreaves spurned Canada to play for Wales (yes, Wales). And on the eve of what was to be his first cap for the Welsh youth national team, he went on to spurn them as well, because big ol' England came calling.

Hardcore Canadian national team fans have a very, very nasty nickname for him.

Anyway, Hargreaves was pretty damn good, impressed for England in the 2004 Euros and 2006 World Cup, and seemed to just be entering his prime and was on track to be one of the world's best pure destroyers. He moved from Munich to Manchester United in the interim.

And then the injuries hit. Hargreaves played 17 competitive club games in '06-07, 34 in '07-08, and a grand total of nine since then. In what should have been his prime, he became a salary albatross, first with United and then with Manchester City.

"What's all this got to do with MLS?"

Here ya go:

What about a spell in Major League Soccer in the United States?

Yes. They want me to go and play over there. It is a big move, you have to decide do you want to make the move, a big change. There are so many things I could do there and it would be nice to spend time in Canada.

Hargreaves is "just" 31 years old, but whoever it is that wants him to "go and play over there" may want to do a little more homework. They wanted him to play at Old Trafford and City of Manchester Stadium as well. Add in the indignity of signing the Canadian cross between Giuseppi Rossi and John O'Brien, and it's hard to believe that anyone in MLS would make this move, but most especially any of the three Canadian teams.

But hey ... if he does come to MLS after multiple injury-ravaged years, he wouldn't be the first.