CARSON, Calif. – From London to Los Angeles, Graham Zusi and Juan Agudelo are fresh off a short trial with West Ham United and training with the U.S. men's national team. The MLS pair spent a portion of the offseason training with the Premier League club and only recently returned stateside for the U.S. January camp after beneficial experiences.
"The training over there is very similar to what we're getting over here," Zusi said, calling it "a good experience overall." Even though he didn't pick up any specific lessons from his stay in England, the Sporting Kansas City midfielder enjoyed soaking up the different soccer culture.
"Every radio station over there is talking about soccer, instead of football, baseball. It's just a constant thing over there, which is neat," Zusi said. "It's really cool to see that."
Agudelo mentioned that the presence of Zusi and West Ham reserve Sebastian Lletget, a 20-year-old American, helped ease the transition across the Atlantic.
"It was great to see how a team like that in the EPL handles themselves and how the players handle themselves," Agudelo said. "I love that. I have that on the back of my mind."
Agudelo's future is unclear. His current club, Chivas USA, seems eager to shed last year's roster and rebuild from scratch, focusing on a Mexican playing identity under new coach Jose Luis Sanchez Solá. The 20-year-old striker also trained with Celtic this winter amid the uncertainty, and reports from the UK suggest that Celtic is prepared to make a play for Agudelo's services.
"There's nothing much that I control in the offices and such, just what I can do on the field," Agudelo said. "All I know is that I'm going to give whatever club I'm with 110 percent."
Zusi, meanwhile, appears likely to remain in Kansas City for a fifth year. The 26-year-old became an integral component of SKC's attack as it won the 2012 U.S. Open Cup, and he led MLS with 15 assists.
"Each player has to go where it's right for them," said Zusi, who has three years left on his contract with MLS. "I'm not just going to go over there just because of the league. Right now I think Sporting's a great match for me. Not to say I won't explore my options later, but right now I'm very happy where I am."
Additionally, West Ham didn't make significant contact before he left for the U.S. camp. That doesn't rule out interest further down the line, of course.
"I really don't know. I didn't really hear much from them; I didn't expect to hear much, because they're in the thick of their season right now," Zusi said. "But I'm open to options. Haven't heard anything as of yet."
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