For the most part, another season is in the books for Americans playing abroad. Sure, some leagues around the world operate on a different schedule, and a couple will carry on throughout the summer, but with the UEFA Champions League final on tap this weekend and most major leagues involving Americans on break until next season, it's a good time to dole out a few superlatives from this season along with taking a look at the most pressing storylines involving Americans ahead of the summer transfer season:
Blackpool's fairy-tale season is in part so enchanting because of our natural misty-eyed joy at the sight of collective industry. All over the pitch, and waiting to come on from the sideline, Ian Holloway has players committed to the cause. No one rolls his eyes as a teammate's pass goes astray. No one stands, hands on hips, muttering under his breath, after his run goes unnoticed. No one has a tantrum about being subbed off. The Tangerines have played some genuinely brilliant soccer, but it shouldn't be patronizing to salute also their unfailing Musketeer spirit.
For more evidence that the United States national team program marches inexorably forward, even if the results don't always bear it out, consider this little gem: Saturday's 18-man U.S. roster set to face Poland will consist entirely of players based abroad.
Don Fabio Capello has ensured that England already has booked its place at next summer's World Cup, and this weekend, the Three Lions are sunning themselves ahead of a showpiece money-spinner against Brazil in Qatar.
In his career as a soccer player, he's flown thousands of miles to locations as exotic as South Africa, China, Switzerland and Cuba, yet Maurice Edu rates a bus ride as one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
Watching Sacha Kljestan take apart Sweden on Saturday at the Home Depot Center could convince anyone he's primed and ready for a move overseas. Yet success isn't preordained for young Americans going to top-flight teams.