Juan Agudelo is raring to go in his second stint with the New England Revolution.
Agudelo signed with the Revolution on Friday and joined the team for preseason training this week. The 22-year-old striker rejoined the Revolution following a 14-month absence during which he tried and ultimately failed to launch his English soccer career. Agudelo said Tuesday that he already feels at home with the Revolution and is excited to show what he learned while he was in his 14 months away from the team.
“Seeing familiar faces, it’s like I never left,” Agudelo said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m getting comfortable with the system after two days of training.”
Agudelo spent the second half of the 2013 MLS season with the Revolution, scoring seven goals and registering two assists in 16 games. He joined Stoke City as a free agent in December 2013 with dreams of making an impact in the Premier League but failed to secure a U.K. work permit, which would have allowed him to play for the Potters.
Stoke City loaned Agudelo to Utrecht in the second half of 2013-14. He impressed in a short spell in Dutch soccer, scoring three goals in 14 games. Agudelo then made a second, failed attempt at securing a work permit failed, and he and Stoke mutually agreed to cancel his contract. Agudelo then spent six months without a club before returning to the Revs last week.
Agudelo showed no bitterness about the bureaucratic hurdle that prevented him from launching his English soccer career. Instead, he stressed how excited he was to return to the tight-knit group of Revolution players.
“It’s really unfortunate that rules exist to prevent a club from signing the player they want,” Agudelo said. “But everyone moves forward. I’m excited to come back to a team that I’m familiar with. I love the chemistry and the guys here.
“I don’t regret any decision I made or anything that happened,” Agudelo continued. “I’m just looking forward to coming to New England and doing what I can to get back into that rhythm that I had when I left.”
Agudelo watched from afar as the Revolution lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy in overtime in MLS Cup 2014. He hopes to power the Revolution over the finish line this season and revive his international career in the process.
“It’s a very strong and developed team that won games without me and hasn’t lost too many players,” Agudelo said. “I’m willing to work hard to help the team win.
Agudelo’s experience in Europe was short, but he says it helped him become a better professional.
“I feel like I’m a different player,” Agudelo said. “Seeing the lifestyle and the way people handle themselves taught me a lot. I learned how key preparation and focus are and coached myself very well last year. Hopefully, I can translate it to this upcoming season. I’m excited to show everybody what I’ve learned.
In other words: Watch out, MLS, and pay attention, Jurgen Klinsmann. Juan Agudelo is back and better than ever.
Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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