The Curious Case of Eddie Johnson

Former U.S. international and onetime next-big-thing striker Eddie Johnson has been in the news three times in the past five months and on each occasion it was for the wrong reason.

First there was this incident in early August 2011, and, well, the less said about that the better.

Then there was his decision later that month to back out of a deal with Major League Soccer at the very last minuteafter the very last minute, actually: MLS honchos had already gone public with the agreement.

Not the best way to do business, but the former Fulham and Kansas City striker recently told Soccer By Ives that he had said to himself at the time, “You know what, I’m still 27 years old, there’s a lot more soccer in me. I still want to prove this to myself that I can make it abroad.”

In late December, apparently following that impulse, Johnson hooked up with Mexican side Puebla, current home of U.S. winger DaMarcus Beasley.

After initially saying they’d signed the player, Puebla reversed field (pulled an EJ?) yesterday and announced Johnson had been let go because he is not fit enough. “He didn’t pass the test in three training sessions,” Puebla spokesperson Hugo Fernández said in various media reports. “And he’s not staying.”

Johnson has been out of soccer for eight months and counting. What’s his next move? He’s burned bridges with MLS, had the door closed in Mexico, and most likely could not get a sniff of first- or second-division European ball right now.

For a player who scored 23 goals in 25 appearances for the U.S. U-17 team 10 years ago, and bagged a remarkable seven goals in his first six World Cup qualifiers with the senior team, it’s been quite a fall from grace.

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