Juan Agudelo’s last season in Major League Soccer was a success. Not yet 21, he scored 9 goals and added 2 assists in 20 games, catching fire after a move from Chivas USA to the New England Revolution.
That success still had him outside the radar of U.S. Soccer, for the most part. 2013 was his second-straight year with one cap after playing in 14 matches for the Yanks in 2011.
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He went overseas, and had a bit of a nightmare. Not much of it was on the pitch. Stoke City wanted him, but he couldn’t get a permit to work in England. Agudelo scored thrice in a loan stint with FC Utrecht, but still couldn’t manage the permit to return to England.
And so he was without a team for a while, exploring other European clubs before deciding to return to New England.
“It’s really unfortunate that rules exist in England that prevent a club from signing a player that they wish,” Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m bummed out that it didn’t work out, but everyone moves forward, and I’m really excited to come back to a team that I’m familiar with. After Holland, there was still time to keep pushing for a certain outcome in Europe. Six months after that, I just thought it was time to get back on the field and do what I’ve loved doing since I was a little boy.”
“I felt like it was a place where I was really comfortable,” said Agudelo, who officially re-signed with the Revolution on Jan. 30. “I have a fiancée and a kid … It was a very important decision that I had to make.”
Can he return to deliver on his promise, or has the spell or relative inactivity cost him? Agudelo’s still plenty young, 22, and there’s little reason to doubt he could return to his former upward path. It’s a bit like he’s returned from a long absence with an upper-body injury. Can he find his mojo quickly?