By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2023) US Soccer Players – Alejandro Bedoya is the epitome of a veteran player. He has all the ingredients that go into that title, including longevity, experience, and embracing his role as team captain. The 36-year-old has been a member of the Union since August 2016, a team who has dominated the Eastern Conference in recent years and only lost last year’s MLS Cup Final to Los Angeles FC on penalties. Since then, he has played in 196 regular season games, scoring 22 goals with 29 assists over that time.
Bedoya’s pro career spans over a decade. It has included playing in Europe for several clubs, including Rangers in the Scottish Premiership and Nantes in Ligue 1 after starting his his pro career at Swedish club Orebro SK in 2009. He has 66 caps with the USMNT, scoring twice, played in the 2014 World Cup, and was part of the Gold Cup winning squads in 2013 and 2017.
We caught up with Bedoya following Saturday night’s 1-0 win against the New York Red Bulls, where he talked about the Union’s aspirations for this season, his role as a mentor, and his experiences as a USMNT player.
How difficult was it to prepare to play New York when you guys had just come off a defeat against LAFC in the Concacaf Champions League semifinals?
It was a tough week for us. I think the loss against LAFC weighed on us heavily. To be able to bounce back with a victory against New York, I think, is great. I really like that about my group. Things were said in the locker room after the (LAFC) game. Obviously, we were very disappointed. Guys like me and others got things off our chest and we moved on. We flew back to Philly, had a day off, and moved forward. It’s always about the next game.
Speaking of the next few games, how does this month look for the Union?
We can focus on league play, but we have a US Open Cup match in Minnesota (on Tuesday), another tough game with travel, then straight to Colorado (on Saturday). It’s not easy this year.
You guys are out of the CCL, but how far can this team go this season in MLS given that you also have the Leagues Cup and the US Open Cup?
You do the best you can to balance it all and be professional. You have to take care of your body, watch your nutrition, then physically doing all the proper things. I think whenever there is a trophy on the line, as a competitor, you want to make sure you’re in it, you want to compete. That’s just how it is. We will try our best to compete in all those tournaments and get a trophy.
The Union is known for developing players. Do you, as a veteran player, feel that you need to be a mentor and what does that look like on a daily basis?
In the dressing room, I sit between Quinn Sullivan and Jack McGlynn. I’m in the middle of all those guys. They sit right next to me. I get to joke with them a lot, banter, keep them loose. Whenever there is a chance to talk with them and give them some tips, they are very good at asking questions. For me, being a mentor and leader is part of being a captain, too. It’s important to me that these players stay focused mentally and they are guys who are willing to learn. They’re just great kids.
Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, both teammates of yours on the National Team, have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Any memories about them that stands out most?
They deserve it. They are two US soccer icons. I watched them as a young kid and being a part of the National Team with them was incredible. These were the first guys to come up to me, talk to me and give me some advice. I respect them for that. I just have great memories of both of them. Those are two guys who paved the way for a lot of players and made them fall in love with soccer. I am very happy for them and congratulations to everyone who was inducted.
Clemente Lisi is a regular contributor to US Soccer Players. He is also the author of the new book “The FIFA World Cup: A History of the Planet’s Biggest Sporting Event.”
More from Clemente Lisi:
- Landon Donovan: “We also are ambassadors all the time”
- Consistency and opportunity for Philadelphia and LAFC in the Concacaf Champions League
- Q&A with CBS Sports/Paramount+ analyst Mike Grella
- Pulisic in the Champions League, Pefok in the Bundesliga, and Carter-Vickers in the Premiership and Scottish Cup
Photo by the Philadelphia Union