Timbers and Red Bulls Lining up Klinsmann Favourite for MLS then USA


Klinsmann wants Reo-Coker for Team USA

Latest: NYRB Offer Reo-Coker Deal

The USA may be about to add a player of genuine EPL class to aid Clint Dempsey in his endeavours, former Aston Villa captain Nigel Reo-Coker.

Reo-Coker is married to an American and his lawyer believes he would be eligible for the USMNT after a short period of residence although FIFA may have to be involved. The player is very keen to come here and has already turned down an offer of $2m from Maurice Edu’s new Turkish club Bursaspor and a smaller one form another Turkish club Kasimpasa of Istanbul in the summer but is said to be amenable to another offer it arrives over the next 72 hours.

However his first choice is the USA if a concrete offer arrives.

USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told an agent of his desire to select the player if eligible (not as previously reported the player himself).

Such is Reo-Coker’s desire to play here that he will accept a wage below that of Designated Player in his first year of a three year deal  to get his foot inside the MLS door and launch an international career.

At 28, he would represent a very young entry to MLS by normal EPL standards, with a significant amount of playing time at his peak still to come.

Reo-Coker was born in Croydon, South London of Sierra Leonean descent. He last played for Bolton Wanderers on 18 May 2012 after the club’s relegation but is now a free agent. Reo-Coker came through the youth team ranks at Wimbledon, and also played for West Ham United and Aston Villa. He has made 259 EPL appearances in total.

He has played for the England  U-21 squad and indeed captained them but this would not bar him from becoming a full USA international.

Other than the desire of his wife to return to her native country, what has really persuaded Reo-Coker to consider the MLS option was a phone call about a month ago from US coach Klinsmann.

There are two clubs in the running for him.

The New York Red Bulls are the first. Reo-Coker’s wife is from Brooklyn and this would be a natural fit. Advanced conversations have taken place between the player’s representatives and the Red Bulls, whose Head of Global Soccer Gerard Houllier made Reo-Coker his captain when he was manager of Aston Villa and is a known admirer of the player’s abilities.

The delay in the arrival of new head coach Paulo Sousa is believed to have held that up.

However a surprise candidate for the player’s services are the Portland Timbers who are still working to finalise a way of removing Designated Player Kris Boyd from their roster, freeing up both salary cap money and a roster slot.

Additionally, the Oregon club has Diego Chara, their first Designated Player, in a similar position as Reo-Coker who is a classic box to box midfielder.

It may be that Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson and Head Coach Caleb Porter do not want to overload one particular position with too much talent, given the club’s defensive frailties last season. The Timbers had a similar issue with finding a way to accommodate captain Jack Jewsbury and Chara in central midfield in previous years.

Whether it is a matter of dealing with the Boyd situation or working out how to fit Chara and Reo-Coker into the same side is unknown. Portland already rejected one deal for Reo-Coker on financial grounds but a new offer is said to be far lower, with respect to any salary requirements in the second and third years of a contract.

The player is believed to be flying to the USA to discuss terms if there is no offer from Turkey although it is not known by our sources yet, whether Oregon is in his itinerary.

Other Timbers News:

Erik Hurtado Drafted by Vancouver

Fucito Traded, Boyd Next?

All Portland Timbers Articles

All New York Red Bulls Articles



About Author

Steve is the founder and owner of Prost Amerika. He covered the expansion of MLS soccer in Cascadia at first hand. As Editor in Chief of soccerly.com, he was accredited at the 2014 World Cup Final. He is the former President of the North American Soccer Reporters Association/ Originally from Glasgow, he is a supporter of the Great Glasgow Alternative, Partick Thistle.


  1. Wow, not to count chickens but this is coup level stuff.
    Regardless of whether it not this works out for the timbers, I must say that I am
    Really impressed with how klinsmann has been pushing players to bolster the domestic league as much as he has to improve the MNT.

    Even though the mix deal fell through, it is nice to have the national team coach driving interest in your league and team. Though I knew when he finally took the reigns of the us program there would be a big emphasis on development and domestic output, I never expected this much or type of support.

  2. Huh? From the best I can tell online he only just got married this past summer, so it would take 3 years (the same amount of time Nagbe is going to have to wait) for him to get citizenship. So he’d be angling for a spot in WC 2018?…as a 34 year old?…when Klinsmann likely wont be coach anymore?…at a position the USMNT hasn’t exactly struggled to fill? Sounds great.

  3. “He has played for the England U-21 squad and indeed captained them but this would not bar him from becoming a full USA international”

    uh, that would indeed bar him. He played for England in an official competition (2007 European U-21 tournament). I’m assuming he wasn’t married to an American or had an American passport at the time he represented England. So he is not eligible to play for USA. He could still play for Sierra Leone though.

    • actually, youre only barred from switching national teams if you play for the full senior squad. U-anything doesnt count.

    • Youth tournaments don’t count. Only representing your team as a full, senior-level, international at a competitive tournament bars you from playing for another country.

      That being said, I really really wish he was barred from playing with us as he isn’t really that good. He’s not a PL-level player anymore, and he never was. There’s a reason he was nicknamed Nigel Medi-ocre at West Ham.

      Don’t need; don’t want.

    • Somedude,

      I’ve read the minutiae of the regulations and I think you may be right. He needs to have been an American eligible player when he played according to the wording (at least the way I read it). That said, FIFA looks at applications on their merits.

  4. Everyone,

    I just want to draw your attention to an error in the story as originally posted yesterday evening. Reo-Coker did not hear directly from Jurgen Klinsmann about his desire to select him. It came via a third party.

    We apologise for the error.

    • Darn,
      I rescind my first comment and substitute things like,
      “Why doesn’t klinsmann do more to drive players…” And “how darehe make me assume that he is being as awesome as I wish he was!”


  5. he will never be eligible for the US. It is true that U-21 experience only provisionally ties him BUT at the time of those experiences he was not eligible for the US. He would only be able to file a one time switch to a country he was eligible for at the time of his U-21 caps which I’m guessing Sierra Leone would be an option. He ain’t playing for the US and frankly I don’t believe that Klinsmann is involved in this at all, we aren’t exactly thin at the DM position and I rate Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones above him and if push came to shove I’d rather Bradley playing the 6 with a true AM over Reo Coker and Bradley together. Big coup for MLS if they get him though.