For weeks Eddie Johnson, the star of the Kansas City Wizards, was rumored to be moving to the English Premier League. The Wizards made a proactive move before the SuperDraft and sent defender Nick Garcia to the San Jose Earthquakes for the rights to the number one pick in the draft. The Wizards pulled the trigger on this deal before knowing if Johnson would leave or not. As it turned out, as was expected, Johnson was given a work permit for the United Kingdom so he could play for Fulham. Johnson signed a 3-½ year deal with the English club and will join 4 other Americans on the club, including goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
The three teams affected by Johnson’s departure are the San Jose Quakes, the Kansas City Wizards, and Fulham. The Quakes received defensemen Garcia, who spent his entire career in Kansas City since being the 2nd overall pick of the Wizards in 2000. Garcia will look to shore up a shaky Quakes defense. The Wizards used the number one pick to select defender Chance Meyers from UCLA. Myers left UCLA early after getting the go ahead from UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. Myers started all 21 games for the Bruins last year scoring 3 goals. He also was an All Pac 10 selection. He had a fantastic MLS combine and the thought of taking a defensemen who can contribute right away was too much for the Wizards to pass up. Myers was considered to be one of the top talents in a draft loaded with defensive players, as there was only one forward taken, Patrick Nyarko to the Chicago Fire with the #7 pick. The last team affected by Johnson’s leaving is for the team he is joining in Fulham. Fulham are in 19th position, out of 20 teams in the English Premier League and are in danger of being relegated if they do not move up in the standings. Johnson will take the place of another American, Brian McBride, in the Fulham lineup, as McBride is still sidelined mending a dislocated kneecap. Johnson is a solid 6’1” and he will be a good fit to the attacking style that Fulham uses. In international play Johnson has 11 goals for the USA National Team. Johnson will be asked to contribute right away, as Fulham needs his offense to help them from being relegated.
So as the dominos fell recently as three teams have changed dramatically and Johnson will have a chance to prove himself soon in one of the best leagues on earth, while Myers and Garcia will have to wait until the 2008 MLS season to help their new teams.