Since late last week Brek Shea has been training with USL Pro side Orlando City, staying fit while Stoke City are off and the National Team heads down to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.
The winger’s presence in Florida has raised questions as to his interest in a return to Major League Soccer, where he spent four seasons with FC Dallas before transferring to Stoke City on a $3.75M fee in January 2013.
Persistent injuries, a managerial change, competition for places and a two month loan to Championship side Barnsley has resulted in Shea making only three appearances for the Potters over the last 18 months.
With the player refusing to talk about his future, MLSsoccer.com’s JC Carnahan went to the next best source, Orlando City coach Adrian Heath to get the lowdown.
I can’t hide the fact that I’ve enjoyed working with him and seeing him close up. You can look at players from afar but you really only get to know what they’re like when you see them this close up.
The one thing that’s very apparent is the size and the power and the pace… It gives us an idea of what some of the players are like at the next level….
Obviously, the fact that Brek is playing in the Premier League, financially he’s earning a lot of money. But I would be lying if I didn’t think it gives us a great opportunity at looking at a player that over the next few years might want to come back to MLS. The fact that we have a relation with him would stand us in good stead down the road if it did get to that stage.
For Shea, Orlando City represents a massive opportunity to reignite his career. Two years into his professional time at FC Dallas and many had him pegged as the next great American winger. Powerful, pacey, and with an eye for goal, big things appeared to be in store for Shea. But just as he was on the cusp of reaching the next level – calls into the National Team and a tryout at Arsenal were big ego boosts – Shea came unraveled.
It seemed all the good that FC Dallas had done Shea was lost. His form fell off but his desire to move beyond MLS didn’t and by the time he moved to Stoke, many felt Shea needed a step back rather than forward.
The past few years has seen a number of notable American players return home to MLS. Each has his reasons. And right now there isn’t a Yank out there who needs to follow that path home more than Brek Shea. He’s only 24-years old.
Salvage the talent, salvage the career.