English in Action: Weekend 8-10 May

A busy weekend for Englishmen abroad saw some important contributions from the expatriates.

On Friday night in Austria, striker Gary Noel bagged a brace for his side First Vienna, as they defeated Donaufield 3-1 in the country’s third tier. It was the English forward’s sixth goal in eleven appearances since he made the move to Vienna in March.

On Saturday, newly-promoted PS Kemi Kings hosted their first game of the season against Haka. Starting up front was Billy Ions, now in his third season at the Finnish club. The former Newcastle United youth player scored his club’s third in a 3-2 win to secure back-to-back wins in the country’s second tier.

In Japan, ex-England international Jay Bothroyd failed to extend his scoring streak to four games but his side Júbilo Iwata still managed to defeat Mito HollyHock 2-1. The former Cardiff City striker has five goals in eight games since the move to Asia and his side currently sit top of J. League 2 after 13 games.

Over in America, there were impressive performances from a couple of Englishmen. First, midfielder Luke Mulholland fired home his second goal of the season to guide Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 away win over Chicago Fire. Then in Florida, Luke Boden provided the assist for Aurelien Collin’s 90th minute equaliser as Orlando City secured a late point at home to New England Revolution. Former Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines also played the full ninety for Orlando.

Sunday was a prolific day for England’s ex-pats, with no fewer than eight exiles on the score-sheets for their respective clubs.

In Belgium, John Bostock scored OH Leuven’s only goal of the game as they drew 1-1 with AS Eupen in the Second Division playoffs. After finishing fifth in the league, Bostock’s side are in a four-way battle to play Belgian Pro League football next season, with three teams from the Second Division competing with one from the top tier.

Former Walsall defender Netan Sansara opened the scoring as his side Fredrikstad secured a much-needed 3-1 win over Ranheim. Fredrikstad, now in their third season in Norway’s second tier, had started the season poorly, failing to win any of their first six games of the season but a goal from club captain Sansara helped secure maximum points for the first time on Sunday.

In Sweden’s top tier, Hakeem Araba continued his fine form, making it four goals in four games as he scored the only goal of the game to secure victory for Falkenberg over Halmstad. The English striker has now scored in four games in a row, having previously failed to find the net in his first four games of the season. The video below shows highlights of the match.

In the country’s second tier, Östersunds FK managed by former West Brom defender Graham Potter, secured a 2-1 away win over AFC United helped by a goal from Jamie Hopcutt. James Sinclair was an unused sub for Potter’s side.

In the MLS, it was the usual suspects making the headlines. Dom Dwyer‘s third goal of the season picked up a point for Sporting Kansas City who drew 1-1 away to DC United. Elsewhere, a brace from Bradley Wright-Phillips was enough to secure victory for Red Bulls over City in the first ever New York derby. Lloyd Sam was also involved, assisting Wright-Phillips’ first of the night.

Finally, in the NASL, the country’s second tier, goals from Tomi Ameobi and Ritchie Jones were not enough to prevent a 4-2 loss for FC Edmonton away to New York Cosmos, who had Spanish legend Raul on the score-sheet. The English pair now both have three goals each this season.

2014 Review: #4 Luke Boden

2014 REVIEW - Boden2014 will be a year Luke Boden will never forget. Although his side, Orlando City, did not achieve USL Pro playoff success, the English defender will forever remember last year as the year he became an MLS player.

Boden began his career at his local club Sheffield Wednesday, making fifteen league appearances in a five year period which included three loan spells to Chesterfield, Rushden & Diamonds and Northampton Town respectively.

After failing to secure a place in the Owls’ starting line-up, Boden terminated his contract with the, then, League One side and made the move to the States to join USL Pro side Orlando City (USL Pro is technically the third tier in the US but with no promotion or relegation in place, all divisions act on separate basis).

Despite the significant change in scenery, swapping Sheffield for Florida, Boden took instantly to his new surroundings, becoming a regular for his new side.

His first year with Orlando was the definition of success. He started 22 games as his new side won both the USL Pro title and the USL Pro playoffs, making the club’s inaugural season an unprecedented success.

Boden followed this up with a further title in 2012, as well as another playoff win in 2013.

However, 2014 was by far the Sheffield-born defender’s best ever, if not on a team level, then certainly on a individual level.

He started 26 games in all competitions, contributing three goals (including one against MLS side Colorado Rapids in the US Open Cup) as Orlando won the USL Pro title.

Although his side failed to win in the playoffs, Boden’s performances did not go unnoticed.

First, he was named in the USL Pro team of the year, earning recognition as one of the best defenders in the league.

Then, after four years with Orlando, his spell in Florida would be extended as he was offered a contract to continue with the side as they enter the MLS this year.

This means 2015 will see Boden compete amongst the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the US’ top tier. He will also take to the field with the former FIFA World Player of the Year Kaká, who joined Orlando earlier this year.

2014 was an individually brilliant season for Luke Boden. He won the USL Pro title, earned a place in the league’s team of the year and secured an MLS contract. This year we will see if he can do the same in America’s premier football league.

 

 

 

 

Exclusive interview with Orlando City’s Luke Boden: Part 2

Kaka? Yeah, we have met him twice…..He is so down to earth. He’s a really nice guy.

In part 2 of our exclusive Q&A with Orlando City’s Luke Boden, the Englishman chats Dom Dwyer, Adrian Heath and Kaka. Thanks again to Jhamie Chin at Orlando City for helping to conduct this Q&A.

  1. You played alongside Dom Dwyer last year, he’s another Englishman in the States. What do you think of the impact he has made in the MLS this year? Were you expecting him to be as much of a success as he has been?

Obviously playing with Dom, he is so lively. Getting up for a game, is very easy for him also. He’s lively, he’s bubbly and he’s got a lot of energy – and he’s shown that in the MLS. He doesn’t let defenders breath and when he gets his chances, he can finish. He’s a great finisher, so I did expect him to go on and do as well as he has done. He’s done great and I’m really glad for him. I think he’ll continue to do well in the MLS.

  1. Your manager is also from England. What has been like working under someone with as much experience as Adrian Heath?

It’s been great. I’ve learnt a lot from the gaffer. He said that I could play left-back and I looked at him in a weird way like, “I don’t know if I can play left-back” but he saw that in me and thankfully I started playing there and he taught me the basics of defending. It’s really good for me to have learned those things from the gaffer.

  1. How much are you looking forward to playing in the MLS next year? How are the MLS preparations going in Orlando?

When I first come over here, my aim was to play in the MLS and now I am in the MLS. My aim is to play in the first team week-in, week-out. I know it’s not going to be easy. They are going to bring players in but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully I can get in there (the first team) and play.

  1. Congratulations on making the USL Pro team of the season. How did you feel when you found out you made the side?

Being in the team of the year was great. Obviously I would have definitely swapped that for another championship but on a personal level, it’s great and I’m glad I got in there. I definitely wish we could have topped the season off by winning the championship though.

  1. And finally, have you had a chance to meet Kaka yet?

Kaka? Yeah, we have met him twice. We met him at the dinner when he signed and he came up to the training ground and I met him there as well. He is so down to earth. He’s a really nice guy. So I am really looking forward to playing with him.

Exclusive interview with Orlando City’s Luke Boden: Part 1

The biggest difference is that no matter what [level] you play in the US, everybody tries to play football.

Luke Boden (in purple) in action for Orlando.

 

In the first of two exclusive articles, English Players Abroad (EPA) interviews Orlando City’s Luke Boden. The former Sheffield Wednesday player joined Orlando in 2011, and now after four seasons in the USL Pro league, Boden is set to play in the MLS next year, with Orlando joining the league for the 2015 season.

Having begun his career at Sheffield Wednesday, Boden went on to make several first team appearances for the Owls between 2006 and 2011. His spell in his homeland also included loan moves to Chesterfield, Rushden & Diamonds and Northampton Town.

In 2011, he upped sticks and moved to Orlando City, who at the time, played in the USL Pro league one of the two professional football leagues below Major League Soccer (MLS).

During his time in England, he was predominately a midfielder but has more recently played at left-back in the US.

In four seasons with Orlando, he has won three USL Pro Commisssioner’s Cups (awarded to the team who finish top of the league) and two USL Pro championships (awarded to the winner of the end-of-season playoffs).

Next year will see Boden compete in the top tier for the first time. After being confirmed as an MLS franchise in November 2013, the side are now in full preparation for their first season with the big boys. The Englishman has already agreed a multi-year contract to continue to play at Orlando in the MLS.

EPA caught up with Luke to chat all things American as Orlando gears up for its inaugural season in the MLS. Thanks to Jhamie Chin at Orlando City for helping conduct the interview.

  1. After several years as a professional in England, how did the move to Orlando come about?

I was coming to an age where I wanted to be playing regular first team football. I was 21 at the time, and obviously when you get to 21, you want to be playing regularly. That was one of the main reasons for me wanting to come to Orlando.

  1. How does the football in the US compare to England?

Looking at the standard, [it is] near-on the exact same. Look at the standard of players who are over here in the US now. Obviously [there’s] Orlando signing Kaka plus [there’s] Henry [and] Cahill, so a lot of big names are playing over here now. The standard is really, really high. It’s great and it’s only going to get better.

  1. What has been the biggest difference you’ve noticed whilst playing football in the US as opposed to at home?

The biggest difference is that no matter what [level] you play in the US, everybody tries to play football. Everybody tries to play out from the back. Everybody tries to play through the midfield and create chances. Whereas in England, I think that a lot of teams like to play a lot of ‘back-to-front’. A lot of long ball. So the biggest difference is that most teams here try to play the ball on the floor which is good.

 

In part 2 of the interview, Luke talks Dom Dwyer, Adrian Heath and Kaka. It will be up on the site in the coming days.