From March through early June, Galaxy forward Edson Buddle went from off the US National Team map to a possible World Cup starter. But despite leading Major League Soccer in goals and a two-goal performance in a World Cup tune-up against Australia, Buddle saw precious few minutes in South Africa.
While Tuesday’s match against Brazil might present a chance for atonement, Buddle is not approaching his latest call-up as a chance to prove to US coach Bob Bradley that he should have played more minutes in the World Cup.
“Bob called me up,” said Buddle, who played 39 minutes during the World Cup. “I’m very thankful for that and being home, hopefully I can get some minutes.”
After returning from South Africa, Buddle picked up where he left off. He scored in his first game back, a 3-1 win over Seattle on July 4, and has added two more since to increase his league-leading total to 12.
But he has had challenges. Before his call-up to World Cup training camp in April, Buddle had played exactly 10 minutes with the US. With virtually no participation to count on, Buddle hasn't had to deal with the extra travel, the added intensity and speed of international soccer, nor adjusting back to his club team.
On top of all the logistical challenges, Buddle still has had to perform at a high level and produce as his team has expected him to.
“For me, it’s been tough. A lot of games,” Buddle said. “Each game you have to prove yourself. In sports you should have a short memory. Each game is like a kick start. After this game, there will be another kick start game and then game after game. I’ve learned that.”
Taking that sort of mentality has helped him get a call back to the USMNT following the World Cup. While getting on the field has been a challenge, Buddle has been successful in getting his foot in the national team.
But does he consider this an opportunity to become a regular on the national team during this new World Cup cycle?
“My opinion on the national team is that you always have to be sharp and just be ready and hopefully get called up at the right time when there’s games,” he said. “There are always people that are scoring goals in other countries and other leagues who are doing well who are American. My time has come to get called in and I just want to take advantage of it.”
This match, though, should not be difficult to prepare for, both physically and mentally. Buddle was born and raised just outside New York City and has many friends and family in the area. With such support watching him in person, Buddle said that alone should provide plenty of energy.
“A lot of people [I know] will hopefully come out and support me,” Buddle said. “I probably won’t have to warm up for that game, just go out there and run wherever Bob needs me.”