MVP candidate Shea to train with Arsenal in offseason
US men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called upon MLS players to continue training after their season ended. At least one of them is answering the call.
FC Dallas announced on Thursday that midfielder Brek Shea would remain in Europe following the national team's friendlies next week against France and Slovenia to train with English Premier League club Arsenal, citing a "strong relationship" between the two clubs.
“Brek matured as a player and as a leader on the field this past season," FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said in a statement. "It was a career year for him. He consolidated himself as one of the top players in MLS and solidified his role with the US national team."
According to the team, Brek will be a guest player with Arsenal and return to Dallas in December. The training will provide the 21-year-old midfielder an opportunity to stay fit heading into the annual January training camp with the national team.
"Affording Brek the opportunity to continue to work on improving his game and measure himself among the best players in the world is something we are all excited about," said Hyndman. "It’s a winning situation for Brek, FC Dallas and the US team, as the extra training time will help push his game to the next level.”
And Shea has quite a foundation upon which to build. The young midfielder started 30 MLS games for FC Dallas this season, scoring 11 goals and registering four assists while earning six caps with the national team.
His training venture to Arsenal will be music to Klinsmann's ears. The 2011 MLS regular season began in mid-March and ended Oct. 23, a major cause of concern for the head coach.
"It’s not competitive if you have a seven-, eight-month season," Klinsmann said in early October. "That’s not competitive with the rest of the world."
Arsenal have welcomed MLS stars to training in the past, most notably allowing David Beckham to practice with the squad to maintain match fitness during the 2008 offseason.
“We want to give Brek every opportunity to grow and develop his skills as a player,” said FC Dallas president and CEO Doug Quinn. “His goal is always to be better than he was the season before. With an MVP-caliber season in 2011 and his growing international success, we want to get him the challenges and environment he needs to continue improving as one of the best young players in American soccer today.”
Training in the EPL is nothing new for Shea. In October of 2007, he trained with Bolton Wanderers before being drafted by Dallas in the 2008 SuperDraft.