Monday Lunch: Brek Shea’s Future

Posted: August 15, 2011 in mls, professional sports, soccer, sports, usmnt, world cup

By Evan Ream

According to this article, FC Dallas and US Men’s National Team winger Brek Shea could be on his way to Europe as soon as the end of the MLS season. The article mentions England,Germany,Holland and Belgium as possible destinations for the 21-year old player. But what should Shea do?

Brek Shea is in his fourth professional season and just his second season of being a consistent starter. FC Dallas is one of the best teams in the league, and Shea is a starter week in, week out at the left midfield position in Dallas’ 4-1-4-1 formation. Shea is given a lot of freedom and has thus far been successful with this freedom. Despite still being a work in progress, Shea has 10 goals in 24 games this season, good for third in the league. Is it too early for Shea to make a move?

Shea just signed a contract extension with MLS that will keep him in Dallas until the end of the 2015 MLS season. Obviously if he keeps playing the same way, he won’t stay in MLS that long, but the four plus years remaining on his contract are a huge bargaining chip for MLS. It would likely take $10 million (or something similar to what Villarreal paid for Jozy Altidore) to lure Shea, one of the league’s star players, away from MLS. Shea may not be ready to play for any team that could afford him (only the ones in England and Germany).

Shea doesn’t want to end up like Jozy Altidore, going from team to team before finally ending up in the right place (Holland) three years later. Ideally Shea would go to a team in Holland where he could develop in the 4-3-3 system (not too different from the 4-1-4-1 in terms of what his responsibilities would be) for a few years before making a move to a bigger league. I’m worried that MLS will accept an offer to a big English or German team before Shea is ready and as a result his growth will be stunted.

Despite being an MLS MVP frontrunner thus far, there are many things that need to be improved about his game: would a bigger team in a win-now mode be interested in this? Ideally he would go to a team like Ajax or PSV where they could nurture him and then make a profit off him in a few years, but this wouldn’t happen at a $10 million price tag. Shea is in somewhat of a conundrum as a result; he probably isn’t good enough to play for a big team and yet he has out-priced himself to smaller teams and smaller leagues.

The solution: go to a smaller team in the Bundesliga. Michael Bradley had success at Borussia Monchengladbach, and a similar team could probably afford Shea. He is a talent that needs to be nurtured in order to become the star we expect him to be; the last thing we need is another Robbie Rogers.


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