Caleb Folan had been thinking about a career in the US for a few years, but conversations with Jozy Altidore and Brad Guzan may have cemented his MLS plans.
The 28-year-old striker, currently trialing with the Colorado Rapids but contracted to England's Hull City, talked with Altidore while the US international was on loan with the Tigers. He also discussed MLS more recently with former Chivas USA goalkeeper Guzan, who last month joined Hull on loan from Aston Villa.
Those conversations helped his latest push toward investigating the idea.
“I always had an interest going back several years, and it was always something I wanted to experience at some point,” Folan told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously, talking with Jozy and Brad, you get to know a little bit more about it.”
And Folan’s brief experience with the MLS Cup champions has already exceeded his expectations, particularly in regards to the close-knit nature of the Rapids locker room.
“I have been in some interesting changing rooms where there has been a lot of individuality and a lot of people not wanting to communicate,” he said. “This dressing room is very humble and very together. It feels like a real team and that is pretty inspiring.”
The Irish international, who formed a physically formidable striking partnership with Conor Casey in the first half of the 2-0 preseason victory over the Columbus Crew in Arizona on Monday, said the playing level was pretty much as he expected, as was the players’ enthusiasm and drive.
[inline_node:328011]“The lads work very hard and are very passionate,” he said. “There may be different styles of play, but it’s definitely as lively as anywhere else I have played.”
In addition to Hull, Folan has played for Premier League club Wigan Athletic and Chesterfield in the third English tier. He also has seven caps with the Republic of Ireland national team.
Folan, who was born in England but qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents, said he is hopeful of agreeing terms with the Rapids and will return to England to speak with Hull following the Rapids’ current trip to Arizona.
He said he's confident a move across the Atlantic won't hinder his national team prospects. Rather, the move could work in his favor.
“That does cross your mind a bit but, first and foremost, you have to be playing in an environment where you feel you can progress and be happy,” he said. “(Ireland manager Giovanni) Trapattoni has always been very good with me. I have a lot of respect for him as his view is that, wherever you are in the world, as long as you are performing, it’s all right. He’s always watching out for you.”
The Rapids are scheduled to play the LA Galaxy on Wednesday in Arizona in the final preseason game of that trip.
“I would love to come out and be involved in the MLS,” he added. “I just have to have some talks back over the pond with my current club.”