Friday, August 10, 2007

Feilhaber Secures Work Permit

Brazilian-born American international midfielder Benny Feilhaber has been granted a work permit by Britain's Home Office, clearing the way for him to complete his move to Premiership new boys Derby County from Hamburg SV, a Bundesliga club. A player must take part in 75% of his country's international games in the last two seasons to get a work permit and Feilhaber doesn't meet that requirement, which is why he had earlier been turned down.

Feilhaber was also eligible to represent Austria on the international level and turned down approaches from their coach, Andreas Herzog, to play for them.

After his second season playing for UCLA, Feilhaber was selected to play for the US U-20 team in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, hosted by the Netherlands. An impressive performance there led to a move to German club Hamburg SV that same year but he has appeared in only 9 league games for their senior team since he signed.

Feilhaber is doing what Eddie Johnson should've done: take advantage of interest from a Premiership club. Johnson's development as a player has been stunted by continuing to play in MLS. Yes, he's one of the league's top strikers and won't have any problem continuing to be one if he stays in MLS, but it won't make him any better of a player and it hurts his chances to play for the US National Team. Feilhaber turned in a breakout performace at the Gold Cup and turned some heads across the world. Moving to Derby County is just a stepping stone for him; nearly everyone is an agreement that Derby will be relegated from the Premiership after this season, but a good year (and he'll get more than his share of playing time) could result in moving to a bigger club, one that is a Premiership mainstay. He joins another talented young player, Giles Barnes, in the Rams' midfield, and fellow Americans Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride (captain), Clint Dempsey (who all play for Fulham), Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Friedel (Blackburn), Marcus Hahnemann, Bobby Convey (both at Reading), Johann Smith (Bolton), Jonathan Spector (West Ham), and Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa) in the Premier League.

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