Geoff Cameron has some adjusting to do.
"My agent said there was some interest from a number of clubs," Cameron told reporters about his recent move to Stoke City in the English Premier League. "Once things picked up and a bid came in, I began thinking that this is real and is getting serious. It got really stressful and I was in limbo for almost two months. It was a difficult period trying to focused mentally. It was a learning experience that has opened my eyes to the business side of things."
Luckily for Cameron, that part of his career is over.
His jump to the English top flight was not flawless. A long summer of waiting finally gave way to a move happening in early August, allowing the defender to join his new team and make his debut against Arsenal in Stoke's second game of the season.
The move has given Cameron the opportunity to compete weekly in one of the top leagues in the world, where he knows there will be an adjustment period
"I'm just in the transition stage and am trying to get everything settled over at Stoke. I think I have my routine down now and I'm enjoying my situation," he said. "There is definitely a learning curve for sure.
"Everything is a little bit quicker so you're still adjusting. The more time I'm able to practice and get on the training field with the guys, I'll be able to adapt to the style and the pace of the game."
The adjustment to the EPL is a big one, and doesn't always go smoothly. There's an inherent risk for player when making the jump to the next level, where the overall talent level is higher and the fight for a place in the lineup can be grueling.
Cameron isn't worried about the risks. Not when the rewards could be massive.
"I think this is 100 percent the best move for my career," he said. "Being with the national team and with my game itself, I wanted to take it to the next level. Obviously, I was given this opportunity and I want to take full advance of it. Not everyone gets the chance to play in a really big league. I just wanted to take it full grasp."
More time in England's top flight should help Cameron in his fight to become the every-day starter for the USA as well. The battle for playing time in the center of Jurgen Klinsmann's defense is a tight one. Against Jamaica on Friday Cameron was given the start in front of Carlos Bocaengra, with Klinsmann explaining the decision in simple terms afterward.
"On Carlos, he had some problems to get in a rhythm and there were some transfer things and we had a very good experience in Mexico with Geoff Cameron in the middle and Maurice Edu in the middle and Clarence for weeks has been playing consistent in Europe," the manager said. "They are ahead of him in that moment. That was the decision basically, very simple.”
Clearly, Bocanegra is still in the reckoning. Yet there is also plenty of reason to believe that this coaching staff has extremely high hopes for Cameron, much as Stoke City is counting on his versatility and physical presence to pay off the club's monetary investment in him in a big way.
The potential for a brilliant next phase in the 27-year-old's career is there. Hanging on the verge of becoming a star for his country and with the possibility of becoming a regular in one of the world's best leagues, Cameron needs to settle in quickly.
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