BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, October 13, 2011
The past few months have been full of changes for Jonathan Spector as he gets used to a new club team and a new head coach for the US national team.
Over the summer Spector left West Ham United signed with Birmingham City who were relegated out of the English Premiership at the conclusion of the 2010/11 season. Since he arrived, the Illinois native has become a regular starter in the team's midfield.
While Spector enjoyed his time at West Ham, he is happy with how the move to Birmingham City has gone. The club currently sits in midtable with 11 points through 8 games. In addition, they are also in the Europa League by virtue of winning the League Cup in February.
"It's certainly new," Spector said of the move to Birmingham City. "I spent five years at West Ham which is a relatively long time in soccer years. But the adjustment has been pretty easy. I think the manager, the staff, and all the other players have been pretty welcoming. They've made me feel pretty at home from the get go."
Spector has always been known for his versatility and this year has been no different. Spector was brought in to be part of Birmingham's midfield but in recent games he had to move to right back because of an injury to Stephen Carr.
So far with the national team under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann it has been the same for Spector. On Saturday night against Honduras he played left back when he entered into the game in the second half for Timothy Chandler. On Tuesday night against Ecuador, he played right back when he came on at the half for Steve Cherundolo.
For Spector, 25, he is optimistic that he will be settling into the midfield for good at Birmingham City but he is willing to step in anywhere should the need arise.
"I'm happy to be on the field," Spector discussed. "If it's left back, right back, or in the midfield it makes no difference. Obviously I prefer to be playing consistently in a position which I've been doing at Birmingham City. But at the same time, if someone gets injured and I'm asked to play another role then I'm more than happy to do so."
Before Klinsmann was hired in August, Spector was struggling for playing time with the US national team. He was on the roster for the US team for both the 2011 Gold Cup and the 2010 World Cup but he did not earn a single minute in either of the two recent major tournaments.
So far, Spector is optimistic that the coaching change will give him a new opportunity and a clean slate moving forward in the 2014 World Cup cycle.
"I think there's a new opportunity for everyone under a new head coach," Spector explained. "I think you kind of see that through some of the less familiar faces that have come in and done really well. I think it's like that for everybody."
When the US fell to Ecuador 1-0 on Tuesday, questions were asked about the US team's inability to score goals in the first five games of the Klinsmann. Despite only two goals during that span, Spector urges patience and feels that the team is still taking its time adjusting to a style that is vastly different from the styles under former coaches Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena.
"I think you can see that from the way the team has played since he's been in charge that certainly it's an attacking formation and an attacking style," Spector analyzed. "So certainly that's something that's changed a little bit. It's going to take some time to get used to it but I think we're growing into it. It was good to get our first win under him."
Spector almost was the part of a goal against Honduras when he sent in a terrific cross from the left side that was headed home by Clint Dempsey. The goal, however, was called back when Dempsey was whistled for a foul.
"It didn't look like a foul to me. It's a shame they took a goal away from Clint but more importantly an assist from me," Spector joked.
Spector and Birmingham City host eighth place Leicester City on Sunday.