Be careful English footballers; what you do today could prevent you from following the dream of every European footballer—to come and play in Major League Soccer located in association football’s true spiritual home: America.
And so we have the sad, cautionary tale of one Luke Rodgers, a footballer originally from the West Midlands and who played with the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Crewe Alexandria, Port Vale, Yeovil Town and Notts County before finally landing in New York after a protracted negotiation process in January of 2011.
Rodgers and the Red Bulls were a good fit, explains Yahoo!’s Zac Wassink:
Rodgers replaced youngster Juan Agudelo in New York’s starting lineup last spring, and the impact he made while in the team was immediate. The pairing of Rodgers and captain Thierry Henry dominated opponents throughout the spring, but Rodgers was then slowed down by plantar fasciitis, an injury that plagued him throughout the summer months. Regardless of missing numerous games, Rodgers finished second on the Red Bulls with nine goals (Henry had 14 goals in 2011). He created one final memory in New York’s last game of the 2011 campaign, scoring the team’s only goal in the 2-1 playoff loss at LA Galaxy.
Unfortunately however, Rodgers was unable to return to play for the Red Bulls this season because the US government today finally denied him the coveted P-1 athlete visa. Apparently because he did this, this, this and this.
Although some are blaming the player for being “an idiot,” the US government policy here seems a little…politicized. In any case, the Red Bulls will have to look for creativity somewhere else, and Rodgers will have pick up the pieces after he was denied another shot at the club where he felt “happiest.”