GOODSON GETTING BACK TO BASICS
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Thursday, January 14, 2010
With the 2010 Eliteserien around the corner, IK Start defender Clay Goodson says he is using the US national team camp as a chance to focus on his fundamentals in addition to impressing head coach Bob Bradley.

2009 saw Goodson make an impact on the USMNT when he helped anchor a defense that carried the Stars & Stripes to the Gold Cup final. The native of Alexandria, Virginia also scored his first goal, a game-winner, against Honduras in the semifinals.

Now with a new year in front of him, Goodson notes that he plans to use his time at the Carson, California camp to prepare himself for the upcoming season in Norway and continue showing Bradley that he will be ready for duty this summer in South Africa.

"I've been trying to do all the little things right and improve every day," Goodson told YA following Tuesday training session. "With a new season you have to get back to basics."

The former University of Maryland standout is also aware that competition will be fierce for a spot on the 23 man roster but that if he performs the way he did last summer, his chances are good at snagging a plane ticket to Africa.

"I think I have a shot at making the roster," continued Goodson. "It's up to me to prove to Bob that I can be relied upon and get the job done and make the guys around me better. I was able to do those things last year which is why I think Bob called me in."

The resident of the Commonwealth knows that whomever represents the US at this summer's World Cup, that there will be plenty of work ahead before facing England, Algeria and Slovenia.

"There are no bad teams who make the World Cup," he said of the other teams in Group C. "They are all going to present different challenges. My expectation for us is that we'll roll in there and do a good job. We're a difficult team to match up with and I think we can get out of our group."

Once camp concludes on January 25th, Goodson will board a plane to return to Norway and join his Start teammates in their preseason training.

Earning a spot in his club's starting 11 has been much easier to come by for the 27 year old who has starred for the Kristiansand team the last two years.

Goodson started his career in MLS with FC Dallas but then made the leap across the Atlantic in 2008 to join Start. The move to Norway, he explains, turned out to be a great decision both personally and professionally.

"Personally, I met my wife over there and got married," he noted. "And then professionally, I moved to a bigger league and proved that I can compete at the next level."

The ex-ACC star was also quick to add that he does not expect a return to MLS anytime soon, if not ever.

"[Returning to MLS] is not on my radar. I'm enjoying my lifestyle in Europe and playing over there. I want to try to get to a bigger league later on. I have a high quality of life in Europe and I enjoy the experience. Perhaps maybe later in my career MLS will be something I'll look at if it's the right thing family-wise."

Goodson and fellow American Hunter Freeman will kick off their 2010 Eliteserien season on March 14th versus Sandefjord.
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As clubs wrap up the pre-season, several Americans featured in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League this Thursday.
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