Ten Worst: Failed trialists
Mario Rosas, Toure Mamam,|
February 9, 2012
Ah, the preseason. When hope reigns supreme and when we scour the internet to confirm the identities of many trialists. But for every Jim Rooney, Carlos Mendes and Stephen Keel, players who made the team after a successful trial, there are many, many, many names that disappear back into the wilderness...
10) Peter Philipakos, 2007
The Long Island-born Greek-American passed on MLS to go the land of his heritage, and has since spent nearly a decade bouncing between various Greek teams. He trialed with Metro in 2007, and scored on a penalty kick against Kansas City. Bruce Arena was not impressed: "I don't think he showed too well. He was pretty unfit and we just didn't have the time for him."
9) Renato Pareira Neto, 1997
Carlos Alberto Parreira was expected to bring Brazilians in 1997. Two, midfielder Guido and forward Renato, spent time on trial on the team's trip to Italy. "The two Brazilians, Guido and Renato, are both good players and can certainly play at this level," Rhett Harty wrote in his preseason journal. Guido was signed; Renato, who scored in Metro's loss to Reggiana, wasn't.
8) Enar Jaager, 2010
Everyone loves Joel Lindpere, but Metro was very close to having two Estonians. Jaager, a right back, was given an offer, but rejected it. "The offer was so bad that I couldn't even believe it. It was completely unacceptable," he was quoted. Jaager went back to his old club Aalesund.
7) Alan Valderrama, 1998
Yes, Carlos Valedrrama's younger brother! But let Charlie Stillitano talk: "He's a guy with a great shot. Obviously he's not his brother. That would be too much to ask. I guess it's a little like Joe and Dom DiMaggio." Ummm... No. Not even.
6) Frederic Meyrieu, 2003
Clearly, the highpoint of Metro trialists came during the Bob Bradley era, when he tried everything possible to improve the team. Meyrieu, a long-term veteran of the French league, was part of the search for central midfielder that ended with Metro signing Amado Guevara. Oguchi Onyewu, who played with Meyrieu at Metz, said at the time "he is a good passer and distributor of the ball using his skills and experience." He was also overweight.
5) Gary Hamilton, 2004
An international striker who scored 18 goals the previous season? Sounds great, right? Not so if the country and the league is Northern Ireland. Hamilton went with Metro to Spain, playing in a friendly against Real Murcia. "It would be a great move for me but I am happy at Portadown and with my job at home," he said. "It will be a matter of weighing things up if an offer comes along." No offer did, Bradley dismissing him immediately after the friendly, saying that "he's not a player we're looking to make a move to sign at this moment."
4) Eddie Gustafsson, 2005
With Jonny Walker hurt, Bradley was looking for a starting goalkeeper in 2005, and American-born Swedish international Gustafsson seemed like a good fit. He played in a preseason game against Columbus, but didn't last much longer, as Bradley decided to hand over the reigns to Zach Wells. Gustafsson went to Norway, and since 2009 has been at... wait for it... Red Bull Salzburg, where he is now the captain.
3) Peter Ofori-Quaye, 2004
Once considered one of the best young players in the world, Ofori-Quaye became the youngest player to score in the Champions League (doing so at the age of 17), became a full international for Ghana at 18, and starred at Greece's Olympiacos. Rumors of age falsification were abound, as his star crashed as quickly as it ascended. He scored for Metro in a 1:0 win against DC, but was not offered a contract. Ofori-Quaye still plays, in his native country for a team called B-United.
2) Cherif Toure Mamam, 2005
Speaking of age falsification... In January 2005, Cherif Toure tried to sign with a Norwegian club, claiming he was 19. According to Scottish records (he was previously at Livingston, where he wore "Sherif" on the back of his shirt), he was at least 24... and possibly 26 or older. Nevertheless, he showed up with Metro soon after. "I love individualism," he was quoted as saying. A German newspaper called him "a self-promoter, for whom discipline is not always important." Cherif played a few preseason games, Metro passed, he signed with Metz... and started for Togo at the 2006 World Cup.
1) Mario Rosas, 2003
A playmaking midfielder who played for Barcelona at the age of 17? Yes, please? Bradley thought he had a gem, and Mario even scored on a direct free kick in his preseason debut, a win over the USA U-17s. But it unraveled quickly. The supposed gem was anything but. When asked if Mario was to be signed, Nick Sakiewicz said, "It's still undetermined, and we are just in a holding pattern. I don't see any end in sight." Bradley was more blunt: "Mario Rosas is a young player who we feel has talent, but we felt we needed to find a player that fits our team better. We made the decision so he can likely pursue other opportunities." Mario went back to Spain's lower divisions, and now plays for Khazar in Azerbaijan.