Dear MLS/USMNT Writer Guy: The Brek Shea “redemption” story? Don’t write it.
OTF’s Shane Nicholson is back to raise hell and wax poetic about one of his favorite soccer muses….
As reported by numerous outlets now, USMNT winger Brek Shea has been sent back to Stoke after his loan to Barnsley was cancelled due to his inability to control his birds. Per the AP:
Shea made a gesture with a hand after a 5-0 loss at Huddersfield on March 1, according to The Sentinel newspaper in Stoke. The incident occurred while the 24-year-old Texan was restraining teammate Stephen Dawson as Dawson tried to reach a Stoke supporter.
Not that much less would be expected from the man who brought us the infamous Kick a Ball at a Linesman for a Three-match Ban trick, and the classic Hey Look! It’s a Severed Pig Head Inside the Lockers bit. Oh, what a horribly misunderstood prank that was!
He was in his Brek Shea kinda way of course tremendously sorry and wanted to get right back to business:
The best way I can show this and repay you, the fans, is with my performances on the pitch.
Barnsley didn’t really seem to care what he had to say and sent him home a month early.
But look, I don’t want to run Shea over again. He seems fully capable of tossing himself under the bus, which brings me to the real point: When Brek Shea shows up in MLS on loan during the lead-in to the World Cup, don’t treat it like it’s this glorious redemption story. Please. Just don’t.
And not for the obvious reasons. I mean, this is a man who wanted a move to Stoke and got that move. He found his way into all of three matches (I believe) between posing with severed pig heads before being shipped on loan to Barnsley, making another eight appearances before doing the stupid again and being told to fuck off. Is he a character/loose cannon/whatever friendly term for “kind of an asshole”? Yeah. Is he talented? Meh, sometimes.
But more than likely none of that will come into play if he shows back up on the MLS doorstep looking for a short term gig to prove to Jurgen he deserves a spot in Brazil. From the big ol’ FIFA rule book of nonsense, Chapter III Article 5.3:
As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs. Equally, the provisions relating to the registration periods (article 6) as well as to the minimum length of a contract (article 18 paragraph 2) must be respected.
FIFA long held a rule that players could only play for two clubs in a given season, season of course being defined by the association(s) in which the clubs reside. However, the rule was amended in 2008 to permit one to play for a third club allowing that its association’s schedule overlaps the others. Now, what league might fit in such a convenient little box for Brek Shea?
If Shea shows up in MLS before the end of the English FA’s season it’s not going to be because he wants to come home and sort himself out or to get regular football in hopes of making the World Cup squad. It’s because if he wants to play football at all he needs to move to an association whose schedule overlaps England’s, and unless he’s lining up a move to Finland, he’s rather short of options.
I won’t begrudge him. He’s certainly not going to get on the pitch with Stoke in these final weeks of the Premier League campaign. If he’s smart, and if he cares, he’ll take an – I don’t know – eighth or ninth opportunity to sort his career out, assuming it comes, and try to make a professional of himself yet. I still think he would’ve been better served going another route altogether but hey ho.
So don’t bother with the Look at Brek Shea, moving back to MLS, getting his head down and trying to make this US squad line because it’s just a nonsense. If he comes back he’ll be doing it because someone said he has to, which, in fairness, seems to be the type of retroactive decision making he’s best at.