There are some currently doubting the blockbuster news that Nigel Reo-Coker is set to make a complete move stateside, both to play in MLS and for the US National Team. Here are three pieces of evidence in favor of the story, broken by Prost Amerika…
1. Nigel Reo-Coker’s wife is American. They were married in June 2012, granting him instant eligibility for the national team. Reo-Coker has never been capped as an adult for a national team. He’s eligible to play for both England – whom he represented as a youth international – and Sierra Leone. There was talk of him being called up by Sierra Leone, but he demurred in 2010, saying that he was still interested in representing England. My take? His interest is in playing in a World Cup. Sierra Leone is a long-shot on that front, and should he be called up by the English, he would be too far down the depth chart to ensure an appearance on the roster, much less playing time.
2. Nigel Reo-Coker just rejected a new contract in England. And I mean just. Five days ago, it was reported by Sky Sports and others that Reo-Coker had turned down an offer to stay with Ipswich Town for the rest of the season, instead favoring a longer term deal elsewhere. Coach Mick McCarthy indicated that the player “may have some other offers.”
3. Nigel Reo-Coker says he owes his career to Red Bull boss Gerard Houllier. Amidst turmoil at Aston Villa in 2011, Reo-Coker publicly stood by Gerard Houllier, going so far as to say “I owe him tremendously.” Here’s more from the Birmingham Mail:
Nigel Reo-Coker has saluted Gerard Houllier for saving him and Villa and admitted lesser managers and clubs would have been relegated by this season’s troubles.
Reo-Coker reckons he owes a debt of gratitude to the recovering boss for playing him regularly and intends to visit him at his home in Worcestershire this week.
“He is a great manager and I believe he has got us playing great football. I still believe the best is yet to come.
“I sent him a text a couple of weeks ago to see how he is and I will probably go and see him this week to see how he is.”
Granted, the Prost Amerika story has the greatest number of details about Reo-Coker’s potential deal with the Portland Timbers, not the New York Red Bulls. And today’s surprising announcement that the Timbers were buying out Kris Boyd’s DP contract certainly gives one the impression that the Cascadia club are pushing to make a big move, and fast. But between Portland’s already crowded midfield and the existing relationship between Reo-Coker and Houllier, my gut tips this one to the Red Bulls.