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- DOB October 5, 1987
- Age 26
- Place of birth St. Louis, Missouri
- POSITION Defender
- HEIGHT 6'1"
- WEIGHT 165
- U.S. CAPS 9
- CLUB Bolton
- Current ASN 100 Rank 22
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 27
The 21st century centerback is supposed to be as comfortable on the ball as a central midfielder. Sure, they still defend, but the best of breed also need to kick-start the attack, bypass defenders with well-placed long balls, and defuse pressure with tidy outlet passes. Tim Ream, perhaps more than anyone in the entire U.S. national team pool, is a 21st-century centerback. Offensively, he has all the tools. Defensively, however, he has struggled at key moments—especially when wearing a U.S. jersey.
Ream, the New York Red Bulls’ second-round pick in 2010, stood out from day one, going the full 90 in New York's season opener his rookie year. After that remarkable first season—in which he was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year—Ream earned his first U.S. national team call-up in November 2010 under then-coach Bob Bradley. Ream started and played 65-plus minutes in a 1-0 win over South Africa in Cape Town, and for a few months it seemed like the 23-year-old was on the fast track to superstardom.
Reality set in soon thereafter. Ream started in central defense for the U.S. during the 2011 Gold Cup but some costly mistakes landed him on the bench after two games. A few months later in a U.S. friendly against Ecuador, Ream came on as a substitute, missed a defensive assignment, and cost the Americans the match. Jurgen Klinsmann has not called upon Ream since that contest.
On a club level, Ream is in a better place. He was sold to Bolton in January 2012 and immediately stepped into the spot vacated by Gary Cahill. Although he couldn't save the Wanderers from relegation, Ream impressed with Bolton, establishing himself as a first-team defender and making 14 appearances in half a season. "To be able to come here and prove your worth and show what you’re about and play against those teams," Ream told USSoccer.com, "it can only make you better as a player and as a person and help you in the long term."
It's a shame Ream won't be in the English Premier League during the 2012-2013 season—as he's shown he's definitely up to the level—but pushing for promotion in the English Championship will provide plenty of challenges for the promising central defender.—NOAH DAVIS
Klinsmann on Ream:
"He is one of the very promising centerbacks in this country.… He has an extreme will to learn. He’s a constant asker who wants to know how to get to the next level." (October 2011)
Noteworthy ReadsTim Ream Settles in at Bolton (SI.com)
Tim Ream: The Bolton Defender Living the Dream (The Independent)