Colorado Rapids new striker Kevin Doyle isn’t the first Designated Player to come overseas and not automatically mesh with his team.
Doyle arrived in Denver a little over two weeks ago and has played in three games, of which the Rapids have won just one. According to The Denver Post, Doyle and teammate Luis Solignac have not been fluid on the field.
“It’s just a case of learning and understanding,” Doyle said on mlssocer.com. “It’s not just been me and [Solignac] getting to know each other but the other attackers.”
It is not solely a problem for the Rapids designated players, many DPs coming to MLS from overseas have problems adjusting to life in America.
Even some of the top internationals to come stateside have struggled – fusion.net has a great article documenting the challenges of foreign DPs, including Javier Morales, David Ferriera, Jermaine Defoe and even David Beckham. None of them played up to expectation right at the beginning of their careers in the U.S. It took some time until they got settled and back into their grove according to fusion.net.
Just like any foreigner moving to the U.S. for a job, these athletes are often leaving all they have known.
Athletes like Doyle and Solignac not only have to deal with the move, there is difference in language, currency, mannerisms, and social norms . Not only do the athletes have to adjust to those foreign concepts, the play of the league is different than what they are accustomed to, as well. The rules are different and even the atmosphere of the game itself might different for the DPs. However, for Doyle, that part shouldn’t be an issue.
“The standard is very good,” said Doyle. “It’s pretty physical as well. Plenty of tough challenges, plenty of physicality. It’s what I’ve been used to.”
There are measures that do help the players become more acclimated to their new homes. Doyle is waiting for his wife and two children to join him in Denver. Once they arrive, hopefully he will feel more at home. Being surround by familiar faces should allow him to feel more comfortable and hopefully that comfort will extend to his play on the field and help lead the Rapids to more victories.
Sabrina Naccarato, an intern at Mile High Sports and student at MSU-Denver, contributed to this report