“We’d watch video for an hour a day at times,” Bedoya told MLSsoccer.com, “and one of the things was always, ‘David, you gotta defend!’”
But over time, Bedoya watched as Accam transformed from a raw speedster into a well-rounded player that would soon parlay his performance in Sweden into a Designated Player contract with the Chicago Fire.
And now, years later, he can hardly believe he’s once again teammates with Accam, the two Union DPs tasked with shepherding a turnaround in Philadelphia following’s Accam trade from Chicago last week.
“I think it’s crazy,” Bedoya said. “For us to cross paths not once but twice like this when you never expected it … it’s just crazy.”
Bedoya – a New Jersey native who went directly to Europe after playing at Boston College – had just signed with Helsingborgs in August of 2012 when the Ghanaian winger arrived just after him.
Right away, Bedoya noticed what everyone sees – ”He’s just lightning quick” – but then watched Accam learn to “pick his head up and combine more with teammates.” Bedoya was one of those teammates, and the two had some nice combinations together before Bedoya left for Nantes and Accam the Fire.
Meanwhile, off the field, Bedoya remembers a “shy, timid kid” who was still finding his way in the professional ranks after an interesting journey from Ghana via the Right to Dream Academy.
In many ways, Accam is still like that, his reticent personality belying his explosiveness on the field. But Bedoya is doing his best to help the 27-year-old winger settle in to his new surroundings and find a place to live in Philly. On Wednesday, he invited him over to his house in Philadelphia, where the two did some “reminiscing” and Accam reconnected with Bedoya’s wife, who also knew him in Sweden, where she worked as a physical therapist.
“I played with Bedoya two years in a row and he made me a better player,” Accam said. “I learned a lot from him. He’s someone who talks directly to a player. Having someone like Bedoya behind you is a bonus.”
Bedoya thinks teaming with Accam will be smooth since Helsingborgs employed a similar formation as the Union, with two fast wingers on the outside. Now in Philly, the midfielder is eager to turn teams over and use Accam as a “great outlet” in transition.
The Union captain even thinks Accam could prove to be the difference-maker the team needs on the road, where Philly won just once in 17 games last year.
“David might be that missing link in terms of being the guy that can create something out of nothing,” Bedoya said. “We have good guys and we’ve played well at home but it’s just being away where we’ve needed that extra little spark. That could be him. I really think so.”