Alejandro Bedoya arrives in Philadelphia having not played a single minute of professional soccer on U.S. shores.
But his development up until he signed his first professional contract in December 2008 is pretty typically American.
The North Jersey born, Florida-bred midfielder played high school and club soccer and made two collegiate stops at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Boston College University before beginning a European odyssey that has taken him to four clubs in three different countries over the past eight years.
In his youth soccer days, Bedoya won a state championship with St. Thomas Aquinas High School (he played a year of tennis in high school too) and was a national finalist with Weston Fury after winning a state and regional championship. He was also named the 2005 NSCAA/adidas player of the year for Florida.
From youth soccer, he went back to his roots, enrolling in the North Jersey school near where he was born that his Colombian-born father was a legend at in Fairleigh Dickinson. Adriano Bedoya, who was on the team in 1981-84 and racked up 25 career assists, was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005. Adriano later played professionally for Millonarios in Colombia.
Bedoya scored 13 goals and added eight assists while earning all-conference honors in both seasons he played at FDU, but left the Northeast Conference school after his sophomore year to transfer to Atlantic Coast Conference program Boston College. BC head coach Ed Kelly was an assistant coach at FDU during Adriano’s playing days there.
In his first season with the Eagles, Bedoya won ACC Player of the Year and went on to record 14 goals and 15 assists in his two seasons while helping lead the Eagles to a 17-5-1 record. While at Boston College, he was twice named to All-American teams, was invited to a two-week U.S. Olympic Team training camp (he ended up not making the cut to go to China), and was twice named as one of 15 finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, an annual award given to the most outstanding player in college soccer.
While Bedoya would have been a shoe-in for a high draft pick in the January 2009 MLS SuperDraft, he opted to go to Europe instead, signing with Örebro SK in the Swedish first division.
The 29-year-old has been abroad ever since, playing for Rangers FC in Scotland, Helsinborgs IF in Sweden and most recently FC Nantes in France since 2013. Along the way, he’s been capped 53 times by the national team, most notably in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.