The U.S. Men’s National Team has a rich history in the Boston area, playing a combined 24 times in nearby Foxborough, Mass.
The current roster also has three players with three different ties to the area.
Defender Geoff Cameron hails from 20 minutes south of the site of Tuesday’s friendly against Brazil in Attleboro, Mass. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya starred for two years at Boston College, while Jermaine Jones has just completed his first year as a member of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution.
Though their ties to the area vary, all three are proud to be representing the National Team in a place they’ve all called home.
“I grew up watching a lot of soccer here,” said Cameron, who estimated he’d need approximately 60 tickets for Tuesday’s match. “It’s my first experience playing here with the National Team after seeing them play here a bunch of times in the past. To do it front of your family and friends is really special.”
Along with going to National Team matches, Cameron grew up watching the New England Revolution, looking to former U.S. international Joe-Max Moore as an inspiration for a career in the game. Along with professional inspiration, Cameron credited the diversity of the area with helping him progress in the game.
“You have cultures from all over – Portugal, Guatemala, Cambodia to Mexico,” he said. “It’s a multicultural city, and for me I think that’s kind of played to my style. It’s developed me as a player. I developed playing for Bayside United and the Boston Bolts – two clubs that are big in this area and I think they’ve developed a lot of players to reach further in the game.”
“What sticks out the most is living the college life,” he said. “At BC, all the student athletes had to live on campus, so I was always there and just being a young college kid. It’s a whole other world. In Europe guys are on a strict developmental path and turn pro at a younger age. Being around such smart people helped me prepare for the life that comes with being a professional. Going to Europe, I was prepared to make that jump by because I went to BC.”
Away from the field, Bedoya liked to hit up the area around Fenway Park and Quincy Market and get Italian food in the city’s North End neighborhood.
“After you eat Italian in the North End, you’d go get dessert at Mike’s Pastry,” he said of the legendary pastry shop. “Boston is a great city. Things have changed a little bit, but coming back from Europe, it has that sort of European feel to it. I love being back in such a great city.”
Jermaine Jones has spent less time than either Cameron or Bedoya in the Boston area. In fact, it’s been just over a year since the veteran midfielder made a highly publicized move the Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution last August. His presence was felt almost immediately, helping a club that went on an eight-game losing streak rebound and come within one win of its first MLS Cup last season.
“Since I’ve been here, everybody has been good to me,” he told ussoccer.com “I can only say good stuff about Boston and New England.”
Slated to play his first MNT match as a member of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in this summer’s Gold Cup, Jones instead missed the tournament due to a groin injury.
“It was tough not being able to help the team in the Gold Cup,” he said. “I watched on TV and I was at the stadium for the Haiti game. It’s sad to sit outside and you cannot help the guys and you have to watch the game where you want to be. It’s part of the game and you have to get through that. Now I’m back, I’m happy to be around the boys and helping the team.”
Having returned to the National Team picture and continuing to gain in fitness, Jones is proud to have the reward to represent the National Team in his home stadium, and to do so against an opponent with the quality of Brazil.
“To come back and play in that stadium where I play every two weeks, it’s amazing. It’s good for my club team too. I come back, the National Team comes and I’m the one player on the New England Revolution on the U.S. team. We know it’s a tough game against Brazil, but this is the games that you want, to play against the best players and see what happens.”