Most of soccer-loving America will not get a chance to monitor Tim Ream’s progress in England like last year. That’s because his club, Bolton, has been relegated into England’s second tier. The wealth of English Premier League matches now available to U.S. audiences simply doesn’t carry over into England’ s second tier.
A real high-def bummer, eh?
So, Ream will stall, regress or (hopefully) progress apace without the rest of us knowing too much about it. So long as he’s playing (he should) and so long as Bolton doesn’t move into relegation danger (they shouldn’t) we can probably assume Ream is doing OK.
And it he does keep up with the field, we should see Ream once again in a national team shirt – sooner or later. His drop in flights shouldn’t damage those chances. Bolton’s efforts to regain its Premiership spot will keep pressure on things around the Reebok Stadium. That’s good for his development.
Competing in the English npower Championship means navigating a madly packed gauntlet of matches; each team plays 46 league contests as a start; Then you stack some cup competitions contests and that nine-month run becomes a proper British beast.
So, there’s plenty of matches from which to collect experience. Plus, England’s second tier has often been compared to Major League Soccer in quality, so it’s not bad in terms of collective skill.
That’s certainly the way Ream looks at it; what he told ESPN Soccernet’s Richard Jolly:
I don’t think it is imperative to play in the Premier League. The way he [U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann] looks at it, he just wants guys playing first-team football. The Championship is still a quality league.”