Fulham trialist Bingham set for MLS lottery
NEW YORK – To get an idea of just how highly rated
Generation adidas goalkeeper David Bingham is, all MLS fans need to know is
that he received his MLS contract offer while on trial in England at English
Premier League club Fulham.
“It was a unique situation,” Bingham told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “I think this is
the best time for me to leave school.”
Following his junior season at at the University of California, Bingham was invited by
Fulham for a 10-day trial through his college coach, Kevin Grimes. He paid for
the trip himself to protect his college eligibility, but when the Generation
adidas offer came through on Jan. 6, he wanted to honor his commitment to Fulham before making his final decision. In doing so, he missed out on the SuperDraft.
“Whether you start your career in Europe or in the United
States really depends on the goalkeeper,” said Bingham, who is working on
landing a European passport through his Spanish-born grandmother. “But the Generation
adidas [contract] offers the opportunity to go back to school bonus, which is something
no European team will give you.”
Bingham is keen on finishing his social welfare major while
also securing a minor in legal studies. He’s already arranged to complete
online classes although there will be a few he will have to wrap up at Cal in
order to be eligible for graduation.
The timing of his decision – he returned home from England on the day of the SuperDraft – means his first MLS team will be left to chance through Wednesday's weighted lottery.
“I grew up going to Quakes games,” he said. “But I wouldn’t
say I prefer to going to one team over another. Any team would be an honor. … Where
I land doesn’t make a huge difference but a West Coast team would make it
easier from an academic point of view.”
Goalkeeping runs in the Bingham household. His older sister,
Kimberly Bingham, was a women’s youth national team goalkeeper and was part of the
final camp ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He is also following in the footsteps of another former Cal
goalkeeper who also joined MLS on a Generation adidas goalkeeper: Stefan Frei.
Bingham’s style has been compared with the Toronto FC ‘keeper.
However, his high school years of alternating between
goalkeeper and field player – mainly at forward – helped him develop a set of
skills which he considers unique.
“I consider myself an athletic goalkeeper,” Bingham said. “But
I think my feet are what set me apart. I
spend hours working on my feet. If a goalie makes a mistake, it’s often the
feet. I pride myself having good feet on the ball and being good with my distribution.”
The 10 days of training with Fulham's reserve side and first team didn't hurt either. Although he didn’t interact much with Americans
Eddie Johnson or Clint Dempsey, he picked the brain of the club's goalkeepers and
goalkeeping coaches for tips.
He'll be able to put them to good use soon enough. Bingham’s eventful start to 2011 will culminate in Wednesday’s
lottery (3 p.m. ET).
“I’m going to try not to think about it [the lottery] too
much,” he said. “I don’t’ want to drive myself crazy. I just want to show up and work my hardest and help my team
in any way to help us win. That’s the goal of any player to go out and win
games. I want to win. I don’t like losing. It starts with hard work and the preseason
and I can’t wait to get to work.”