CHICAGO – Rangers FC had already come calling when Alejandro Bedoya was chosen to replace Benny Feilhaber at the Gold Cup in 2011. But Bedoya said that his transfer from Swedish club Örebro to the traditional Scottish powers was sealed by his performance in the tournament, which was capped off by a start in the final against Mexico.
As he prepares to suit up for the US in the Gold Cup final against Panama on Sunday (4 pm ET; Fox/Univision, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), the 26-year-old free agent is hoping for the same type of propulsion from a Gold Cup in his quest to move from Swedish outfit Helsingborg to a bigger European club.
“I'm kind of in the same situation where I'm trying to find a new club still,” Bedoya told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “This one might be different because I'm out of contract now and I'm still negotiating and getting offers from other teams. But hopefully I can get a couple more suitors or it gives me a little more leverage, so to speak. I'm still playing to impress club coaches, obviously Jurgen [Klinsmann, US head coach] for the qualifiers and the World Cup.”
Back in 2011, Bedoya was a budding playmaker working his way into the regular US player pool. Now, he's a slightly older player trying to stake claim to one of those spots after a difficult spell in Scotland. His year with Rangers was plagued by injuries before the club was torn apart after filing for administration.
That year cost the young American plenty of momentum, and when Klinsmann took over following the 2011 Gold Cup, Bedoya was squarely on the outside looking in. Still, he thinks he grew through the adversity.
“It was a turbulent time, I guess I would say,” Bedoya said. “It started off OK, but I think I was unfortunate with a lot of injuries and bad timing and stuff, and then the situation that happened, it was tough to take. That doesn't happen with too many players and that helped me grow as a player and as a person, also, mentally it made me a little stronger, I had to just keep playing through.”
It took more than a year and a move back to Sweden for Bedoya to get another crack at a US roster spot, and he’s taking advantage of his opportunity. His two assists to Landon Donovan helped the US beat Honduras, 3-1, in the Gold Cup semifinals and kept him in the mix for a starting spot in the final.
Now, he's being pursued by clubs across Europe..
Two years ago, he was in prime position to work his way onto the squad as it kicked off 2014 World Cup qualifying. With a strong performance on Sunday and a move to a bigger club, Bedoya may be able to regain that status.
“It's my second go-around, and it's different this time around. I'm a little bit older and I'm a little bit more confident,” he said. “It was tough, but I'm here now again and I'm trying to take the next step again. I had to go back where I was comfortable and get my confidence back and I think I've done that so far.”