Ronald Vargas, Nabil Dirar and now Jared Jeffrey, Club Brugge makes a case of signing a new player every week. On June 18th, Jared with sign a three-year deal, with an option for two extra seasons. „A typical n° 10, who can also operate on the wing." is the assesment.
A little over a year ago Jared Jeffrey, along with some of his teammates of the U17 US Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, got a chance to test at Stuttgart. A move that eventually lead to nothing, so the 16-year old American returned to the US to finish his last semester at Bradenton.
In July of 2007 Jeffrey ended up in Bruges, as an extension of his being a part of the US U20s. „Our national team played both Cercle and Club Brugge back then”, Jeffrey recalls. In November of that year, he returned for an internship, at the request of Luc Devroe (our technical director - BG). „That turned out to be a much better experience than Germany. During those two weeks I got to train with the A-selection several times, something that wasn't the case at Stuttgart. In one of the training-matches, I got a chance to operate from the center of midfield and I thought I did a decent job.”
Some people at Club Brugge must have agreed with that, since even before Jared went back to the states, they made arrangements for him to join them again on their training camp in Turkey. There, he made an equally good and eager impression. „It was very easy to integrate myself into the group. Almost everyone spoke English, that was a big advantage.”
Basketball was Jared's first love, until he got in touch with football through some Hispanic friends back in Dallas. „On the street there was a lot of games going on, but in school soccer isn't all that popular. At least not with the boys. It might sound odd, but in the States, the game is actually a lot more popular with the girls. All three of my sisters play with the Dallas Texans.”
Jeffrey eventually joined the Dallas Texans as well, where Brazilian coach Marcio Leite characterizes him as an "athletic footballer". „His father and mother both have a background in athletics, that probably played some part in his physical development. At age eleven he already practiced four times a week."
„He was very determined to become a footballer and he was a very good listener, which made him very easy to coach. Dribble, pass, protect the ball, he understood very early which skills he'd need to make it as a pro. He was very mature for his age.”
„As a 13-year old he was very small so he had to find another way to play. He couldn't just dribble everyone any longer, he had to find other solutions. Like playing the ball around quickly. At that age, he started to learn to really read the game. He's technically very strong and he understands when to dribble and when to let the ball move around quickly.” Jeffrey can't help but laugh at his coach's description of him. „He had a big influence on me. He emphasized that I should try and play the ball over the ground. Football in a Brazilian style, if you will.”
In 2005, Jeffrey became a part of the US Soccer Residency Program, a training-program in the national training center of Bradenton, where Freddy Adu (Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV, Glasgow Rangers) and Oguchi Onyewu (Standard) also enjoyed their training.
When Club Brugge made him the initial offer at the beginning of the year, nothing seemed to stand in the way of his dream to become a professional soccer player, although he admits it was not an easy decision. „The offer was very attractive, that was not the problem, but leaving the States… I chose a dream I could only realize in Europe. MLS never really interested me all that much...”
On June 18th Jeffrey will arrive in Brugge, twelve days later he will be expected on the training field. „My mother will accompany me for the first two months. In the end it won't be all that different from Bradenton, since I was on my own over there as well these past two years.”
The fact that Club Brugge spent the last few months specifically looking for technically gifted footballers fits him just right, he says. „I'm not the strongest, most physical player in the world. So I prefer a more technical brand of football. If Bruges plays that way, it will only facilitate my adaption.”
Some parts are somewhat freely translated, but you can get the general idea.
Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae