The other day news came out that Takahito Soma will be leaving club Energie Cottbus this summer to come to Major League Soccer. The Japanese left back is quoted as saying
"I have had an offer from an MLS club and want to move in the summer," Soma was quoted as saying Thursday in the online edition of Lausitzer Rundschau.
Sure, his current club is in 2.Bundesliga, and he's just a reserve there, so why is MLS interested in the 29 year old?
He has experience playing for Maritimo of Portugal's first division. There he spent about 50% of his time as leftback, with occasional starts as a left mid, center defensive mid and even at forward. Maritimo has a recent history as a mid-table team in a solid league, but doesn't draw strong crowds on the island of Madeira. When Soma was in the J-League he played left mid much more in both 3-4-3 and 4-4-2 lineups.
If you think this type of player (older, left side) seem familiar. It should. Leo Gonzalez was a left sided player who had time in the midfield, but moved to left back over time. He was also a little older when he came to the League. Leo was more familiar to the American soccer fan because of his time with the Costa Rican National team.
Another thing that strikes me is that this isn't the type of player that MLS scouts as a league. He isn't someone who their new hire in Asia would find (Soma hasn't been in Japan for a few years), he isn't from Latin America (the league scouts there quite well), and he isn't the younger brother of a really famous player. Part of the other intrigue is that he's a player who isn't young and entering through the draft, which indicates that there is a team already interested.
Is this the leftback for 2012 as one year stop gap before the Michael Tetteh era starts? There are plenty of reasons to guess yes.