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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Americans Abroad: Ricardo Clark (Livorno?)

            Yet again, another United States international has fed off his country’s Confederations Cup success with a move to a European club this summer.  This time, it is Ricardo Clark following the recent trend amongst American footballers.  Rumors indicate that the Houston Dynamo midfielder has signed a contract with Serie A side Livorno Calcio and will make his move to Italy following the conclusion of the current MLS season.

            Should speculation prove true, Clark will be joining a newly promoted Livorno team looking to, as president Aldo Spinelli has said, bolster its attack.  Now, although Clark admittedly is not much of an offensive threat, rather performing well in a holding midfielder role, he could certainly be an important addition to a Livorno side looking for new personnel to spark a flare in their return to Italy’s top-flight.

            Despite playing in Serie B last season, Livorno’s status as newly-promoted is actually quite misleading.  The Tuscan club have spent the better part of the decade in Serie A, competing in the UEFA Cup as recently as the 2006-2007 season.  Thus, Clark’s supposed-new club should not be as susceptible to relegation as a typical European football “promotee.”

            So while Serie A survival is ironically not Livorno’s primary concern at the moment, it is their managerial status that is currently tainted with uncertainty.  This, Clark should take note of.  His playing time will prominently depend on his stance with the man at the helm.  (We have seen fellow Americans in Europe, take Freddy Adu at Benefica for instance, endure a managerial switch and consequently struggle to find playing time.)  Should Livorno appoint a manager whose opinion of Clark is not mutual with Spinelli’s, the midfeilder’s stay in Italy could turn into a disappointment.

            Altogether, though, American hooligans should applaud Clark’s move to Italy.  One of the older members of the United States senior squad, he seemed one of the more unlikely to make a move to Europe.  However, at age 26, it is now-or-never and this may be the time for Clark to take his game to the next level.  With his relentless work rate and as a rock in the middle of the field, Ricardo Clark should find his migration across the Atlantic to be very rewarding.

1 comment:

  1. I want the best for Ricardo Clark.

    He's a great holding mid - he has a tireless work ethic and is not afraid to make a tackle. I hope, however, that he realizes that Serie A is not the MLS. It's not uncommon to see Clark being caught in possession against MLS opposition. He often tries some fancy dribble or difficult pass that usually leads to a counter-attack for the opposition.

    Livorno's interest was no doubt peaked at seeing him in the Confederations Cup. The white uniform of the USA seemed to make him more tenacious as a midfielder, like a bulldog, ferocious in his tackles and constantly tracking down the opposition's creative midfielders. Let's hope he realizes that it is this kind of fierce play that will lead to his success in Europe. It would be a pity to see him relapse into his old ways.