91013i-5282djg-xl Jeremy Olson for American Soccer Now
Starting XI

Alejandro Bedoya Ready to Seize Starting Opportunity

Before training on Monday, ASN's Jon Arnold spoke with the surprise starter about his growth since the January camp and integrating quickly with a new team. Coming in hot from Columbus.

BY Jon Arnold Posted
September 10, 2013
7:16 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Only months ago, Alejandro Bedoya couldn't imagine starting at Columbus Crew stadium in a World Cup qualifier against his nation's biggest rival.

Now he finds himself warming up to take the pitch in front of thousands of screaming fans with an opportunity to help clinch a spot in the World Cup Finals. Was he expecting this opportunity?

"No, but I always thought about that," he said before training Monday. "I remember sitting in January camp and talking to Jurgen, seeing what the best scenario was for me. It was important to get games, get my confidence back and that's what I did.

"I knew I could go back to Sweden and perform, coming from there where I was pretty much the best player in the league voted by everybody there so did that and got the move and now I just keep moving. Keep my head down and I know I can keep improving."

He was a surprise inclusion even in the Gold Cup rosters, getting his first start of the year against Costa Rica in the final group game of the tournament, but performed well enough in the semifinals to earn a place in the starting XI of the team that won the tournament final in Chicago. He also started against Bosnia-Herzegovina in the August friendly there.

Recently, Bedoya has been quickly thrust into some tough situations, making his full debut for Nantes against French champions PSG.

"It was interesting," he said. "I didn't know about that until two days before the game, when I got called into. It's all sign language pretty much because the coach doesn't speak English, I don't speak French, so it's tough"

So is it easier working into the national team under Anglophone Jurgen Klinsmann?

"Yes and no," he said. "It's not always so easy. There's a lot of competition as well here, but with Nantes it's just we train and get after it. Here same kind of thing."

He now has a massive opportunity to put the U.S. one step closer, or perhaps all the way into Brazil but also to put himself a step closer to the stairs 23 players will walk up before they make the flight to the 2014 World Cup.

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