Maccabi Netanya (Premier League)
#12 | Defender/Midfielder
November 7, 1984 (Age: 34)
5' 9", 145 lbs (1.75 m, 66 kg)
The son of a Jewish father and Mexican mother, Bornstein has been as hard to stereotype as a person as he has been difficult to define as a player. He grew up in southern California, beginning his career as a striker. By all accounts, he was rather proficient in the role as he scored 23 goals and 16 assists for Los Alamitos High School to lead the Orange County team to a CIF Championship.
His introduction to collegiate soccer came at Cal Poly-Pomona, under the tutelage of former Hansa Rostock player and US Soccer Hall of Famer Paul Caligiuri. In his freshman year for the NCAA Division II Broncos, he notched a solid 10 goals and seven assists, and was named CCAA Freshman of the Year.
That inaugural campaign was followed by a stellar sophomore season that would attract interest from collegiate soccer powerhouse UCLA. He fired home seven goals and a near school season record of 12 assists. His production would see him named to the All-California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team.
In 2004, he traded the sights and sounds of Cal Poly-Pomona's Kellogg Park for the chance to follow in his uncle's footsteps and enroll at UCLA. The new Bruin would make a modest contribution, notching one goal and one assist in 20 games, nine of which were starts. Bornstein found his play limited by strong depth and competition for places from players like Chicago Fire young gun Chad Barrett.
His senior year would show growth, as he tallied five goals and two assists in 20 outings. Only strike partner Kamani Hill, later signed by VfL Wolfsburg, would tally more goals that year with seven. In recognition of his play, Bornstein was named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team.
Bornstein was selected by Chivas USA in the fourth round of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, having caught the eye of coach Bob Bradley. In the wake of a disastrous prior campaign, Bradley was scheming for ways to redesign his team for success. With a host of options in attack already available, Bradley converted Bornstein into a makeshift left back, having instigated the shift in role from the first day of that season's training camp.
The youngster performed quite admirably, and helped shore up the Chivas defense. While he was used in a variety of roles, Bornstein validated his worth as a fullback. When his first professional campaign finished, his tallies stood at an impressive six goals and four assists. In doing so, he helped Chivas to finish a respectable third in the Western Conference.
In the postseason, Bornstein was recognized for his outstanding play by being named 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year.
Throughout his MLS career, Bornstein has become a mainstay in Chivas USA's lineup. The bulk of his playing time has come at his now-familiar left back position, although he has been deployed in left midfield as well. In 2007, he was named to the MLS Best XI.
The following year, transfer rumors swirled around Bornstein. Maccabi Tel Aviv was reputed to be very interested in bringing him to the Israeli Premier League, where he wouldn't count as a foreigner thanks to his Jewish heritage. However, the signing never materialized and Bornstein remained in Major League Soccer.
In July 2010, Tigres de la UANL announced that Bornstein had signed a pre-contract with the club. Upon the expiration of his deal with Chivas USA in December 2010, he will head south of the border to ply his trade in the Mexican Primera Division.
Having sparkled for Bradley in MLS, it was no shock when Bornstein was called up by the new US coach in late 2006. After taking part in the winter training camp, he received his first cap in a 3-1 win over Denmark, on January 20th. In a fairly impressive debut at left back, he fired home his first international goal - the game winner - after a well worked play by Justin Mapp.
Bornstein earned his second cap with a 90-minute outing in their February 2007 win over arch rivals Mexico.
The summer of 2007 was a whirlwind for the US national team and it served as a useful platform for Bornstein to get his first serious international experience. He played all but one match en route to the Yanks' title in the '07 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Immediately following the 2-1 triumph over Mexico, Bornstein joined the Copa America squad in Venezuela as one of the few players to participate in both major tournaments for the US.
His improved play in 2007 established him as the Americans' top choice at left back. However, an injury-riddled 2008 and subsequent loss of form opened the door for Heath Pearce to claim Bornstein's spot in the starting XI.
The tables were turned once again in 2009 when Pearce found himself glued to Hansa Rostock's bench. His lack of playing time precipitated a loss of form that allowed Bornstein a chance to climb the depth chart once again.
At the 2009 Confederations Cup, he once again found himself in the starting lineup. However, when a banged-up Carlos Bocanegra convalesced in time for the semifinals, Bornstein was bumped out of the team in favor of the US captain.
Nevertheless, Bornstein had made enough of an impression in the Confederations Cup to play a significant role in the remainder of the qualifying campaign.
Although he was an obvious selection to the 23-man World Cup squad, when the US battled with England in their first match, Bornstein found himself watching from the bench. However, a hobbled Oguchi Onyewu was benched for the Algeria match and Bocanegra shifted into the center, paving the way for Bornstein's return to the lineup. He was given the starting nod against the Algerians and the Ghanians.
Bornstein will enter the 2014 World Cup cycle as the incumbent at left back.