SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson is back on European soil.
For the first time since leaving English club Fulham in 2011 during what proved to be an underwhelming stint abroad, Johnson is making his grand return to the Old Continent, this time with the US national team in preparation for Wednesday night’s international friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Would the 29-year-old Johnson ever embark on another European adventure again? The Sounders man says he heard of “a couple” of interested sides in the most recent MLS offseason, but he’s happy at the Sounders, the team that allowed him to revive a career that was heading in the wrong direction.
“Any time you want to come and play these games in Europe, you know there are going to be a lot of people watching and you want to showcase well,” Johnson said after USMNT practice on Tuesday.
“But my kids are in Seattle,” Johnson continued in reference to 7-year-old Zoe and 2-year-old Elijah. “And for me being a single father, it’s important for me to be close to my kids. But at the same time I want to give myself every opportunity to make as much money as I can to help provide for my kids. And whatever situation comes up, I’m open to look at it. But I keep reiterating, I’m happy in Seattle. They gave me a second chance to resurrect my career and things are going well.”
Well enough for Johnson to continue to receive USMNT call-ups with Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, including to the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup where he scored two goals.
But the competition at forward just got a lot fiercer with the addition of young AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson, who received FIFA clearance to play for the USMNT on Tuesday after switching from Iceland.
“It’s exciting any time you have a player of his caliber to add to your national team who is very young and who has many good years ahead of him,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day you want to play and compete against the best. And Jozy Altidore has really vouched a lot for him and has said the type of quality that he can bring in this team.”
What Johnson has going for him in the battle for a roster spot at the 2014 FIFA World Cup is his experience and his proven versatility as both a winger and a forward for Klinsmann’s side.
Although he says he hasn’t received word on which position he’ll serve in against Bosnia on Wednesday, Johnson knows that if he gets the call to play up top, there will be only one measure of success.
“The most important thing for me is that when I do get the chance to play up top is to score and be as effective as I can and really be an important figure within this team,” Johnson said. “So whenever I get my chances, it’s about taking advantage of your opportunity.”