Will John O'Brien play in US?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Ajax USA: July Tour : One Thread

John O'Brien has been recalled to Ajax for the 99-2000 season, effective June. He is healthy and training at 100%. If he does not get called up to the US National Team, which has a competition elsewhere the same week of the Gotham Cup, then I think we can expect to see him in Foxboro and Giants Stadium.

-- Jim (jim@tko-web.com), April 29, 1999


John is making progress, but still recuperating from his toe injury. At this point it looks unlikely that he'll play in any of the AJAX games, but he probably won't know for sure until the time Ajax leaves for Boston.

-- Jim (jim@arsdigita.com), June 29, 1999.

O'Brien will NOT be joining Ajax on their US tour. He has not recovered sufficient for him to play, and Ajax decided not to bring him along as an observer.

-- Jim (jim@arsdigita.com), July 18, 1999.

I discussed this with John's dad. The answer is a big fat maybe...

Unfortunately, John is still recuperating from the injury to his toe. His schedule will largely be determined by his ability to bounce back from that lingering injury. His last game in Holland May 23rd. Then, after a week with his Utrecht team in Curaco (tough life), he will probably be invited to the US training camp prior to the friendly with Argentina (June 13th in Washington D.C.) That would depend on a clean bill of health vis a vis the squeaky digit (bad toe).

Depending on the outcome of that camp, he could then be invited to be Confederations Cup (in Mexico at end of July). This conflicts with Ajax's US tour in July, so he obviously can't do both. If he's reasonably healthy, and NOT called up for Conf. Cup, then he'll most likely play for Ajax in the Boston and New York games. But Team USA has right of first refusal for John's services.

Ironically, John might prefer to play for Ajax in July rather than the US team, strange as that seems. Although they're just "friendlies," the Boston and NY games are part of the preseason training, during which the players are evaluated, especially the "new" ones, for the coming season. A strong performance in the Gotham Cup might go a long way toward securing a spot with Ajax 1 next season.

-- jim (jim@tko-web.com), May 05, 1999.

This may sound ridiculously selfish, but I truly hope O'Brien does not get called up to the US squad in the Confederations Cup. I would much rather be able to see him in person than on TV (which I hope the US games are on). Obviously, it would benefit our national program and JB's standing with Bruce Arena for him to play and do well in Mexico with the National Team, but like I said before, I'm selfish.

-- Matthew Homonoff (revpat@hotmail.com), May 06, 1999.

What could be finer for Ajax USA fans than seeing John O'Brien in the first 11 for Ajax while playing in the USA? I suspect John will have many more caps in his international career, so hopefully Bruce Arena won't be compelled to call him up for this tournament.

-- Robert Cain (CAINR@cesmtp.ccf.org), May 06, 1999.

If John *does* play for Ajax in July, that would be doubly appropriate: the first-ever American to play for Ajax would make his Ajax first-team debut *in* America. How fitting that would be, and a nice reward for those of us who've toiled away in obscurity supporting Ajax in the States...

-- jim (jim@tko-web.com), May 06, 1999.

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