Goal.com’s newest feature, Emigrated, takes a long look at young American Marcus Tracy and his unconventional road to stardom.
By Adam Rotberg
Marcus Tracy has never made the conventional choice. Being a
So this past winter, when Marcus Tracy chose to forgo being the likely overall number one pick in the 2009 SuperDraft to sign a contract with Danish club
"Things weren't going so well in the beginning as I had to adjust to the speed and different tactical and technical demands of the game here, but I kept grinding it out, fully believing that I would be an impact player here, and I've emerged a lot faster than was expected of me."
"That was an incredible experience . . . being on the sideline, and even standing there before I subbed in, it was sort of surreal to watch [Shaun] Wright-Phillips or Robinho just run by and think that just four months ago I was playing against UNC in the College Cup and I'm about to go in and play against some of these world-class players."
Despite a furious comeback to tie the game on aggregate in the final eight minutes,
Earlier this month the 22-year-old called out the importance of the Danish Cup Final against FC Copenhagen. Although he wasn't included in the squad, which went on to lose a 1-0 decision,
Finishing this season strong remains at the front of
"[I want] to try to become a regular and more of an impact player next season." By making a difference in the chances he has received this season, he established a base for which to build upon as he approaches his first full season in
Tracy remains unsure of where he would end up, but he knows he must control what he can in order to make it as far as possible.
"I will continue to work hard and try to improve, that's what I have done all my life and it has gotten me to this point so I am just going to stay on that track and hopefully opportunities will come in the future."
As he continues to improve and harbor greater European goals, he is as quick as anyone to praise
"I admire Lionel Messi the most of any footballer in the world. He is very shifty and has incredible speed, quickness, ball control, and creativity and I think he is a very honest player as well. He works hard and plays through the challenges and everything else that comes with being a player of his caliber."
When it comes to his own game, the youngster isn't quite as generous, noting, "My strengths as a player are my speed, running at players, air game, and physical strength."
Tracy is the first to concede that he can improve. "I still want to and have a lot to improve upon and I plan on doing that to take my game to an even higher level. I think every single aspect of my game can be improved. That's clear because I'm not playing at the absolute highest level right now."
To say that
"I think not committing to ODP, sometimes [not playing] in the winter for my club team, and I think my overall indecisiveness on which sport I wanted to go with, kept me out of the ODP pool and the youth national teams."
He exhibits no regrets about enjoying the ability to play both sports for as long as possible, maintaining that the decision has helped him as a soccer player. "I think being able to mix traits mutually from both sports gave me a different style, creativity and confidence that has allowed me to excel and brought me a long way."
He understands the lack of senior national team consideration and holds no grudges, "No mention, no call ups, but that's pretty much expected. I haven't done much at the youth or professional level and it's going to take some time to prove myself." This is not to say that adding a national team call up is low on his list of priorities either, "Of course, it would be an incredible honor to be able to represent your country through football, but none of that is really in my control. I can only try to control my performance and image as a footballer, and only that will see me get a chance sometime in the future."
With the potential
While drooling over potential is a very American reaction, the athleticism contained in a front line combination of Jozy Altidore and Marcus Tracy would be as much as any national team could hope to trot out. If the two young strikers can improve their technical abilities and become truly world class, the