Brek Shea Has Spent His Time in England Holding Bloody Pig Heads, Sucking at Soccer

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So far, Brek Shea's trip across the Atlantic has been rougher than he anticipated. The former FC Dallas forward, who enjoyed mild fame in the states as American soccer's young hope, Adidas pitchman, and, of course, alt-weekly cover story subject, has spent his first season in the English Premiere League watching from the sidelines.

In three months, Shea made all of two appearances for Stoke City, neither of them particularly impressive. After that, he never even suited up as a sub. The team's manager -- who, by the way, was just fired -- has said Shea isn't "anywhere near" playing at a Premier League level.

See also
Brek Shea and the Making of an American Soccer Star

Nor is Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the U.S. national team, particularly happy with Shea right now. All in all, he hasn't lived up to the hopes that came with his $3.8 million salary.

All of that, though, is really just a prelude to the bloody pig's head that showed up in Stoke City's locker room last week. Shea posted a photo of himself holding it in front of his face with the caption "Locker room banter gone wild!!!"

Kenwyne Jones, a Muslim Rastafarian striker, whose locker the decapitated head was left in, was irate. He smashed one player's windshield before chiding his teammates on Twitter: "Big men acting like kids a pigs head is not a prank its just disgusting!!!!! Wtf??? I don't get how was that sup 2 be funny!!!! Really???"

Shea, of course, may have just thought a bloody pig's head would be funny to Instagram and had nothing to do with the prank. We're not sure. Stoke City has said it's investigating. What is clear is that Shea got a lot more attention for holding a pig's head than he has for playing football.


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30 comments
PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

Um, let’s see here.  First of all, Shea was injured when he was sold to Stoke.  I’m sure they knew he was not going to be match fit but would benefit from being over there and rehab-ing while getting use to the English game.  Such a situation is fairly typical.

 Second, contrary to what this article asserts, Shea did show some spark in his debut game. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20130226/americans-abroad-brek-shea/  Nothing stellar but still a spark.  Even world class players from Europe sometimes have an acclimation time to the pace in England.

 Third, if the dumb@ss author of this article would actually bother reading the very article he cites, he’d see that Pullis stated:

“We've looked at Brek and he's a smashing lad…

"He was always one for next season. The football club didn't buy Brek to come in and change water into wine, that was never going to be the case.

"Him and (goalkeeper Jack) Butland in the January window were signings for the future, they weren't signings to help the team at that moment.”

Simply put, Shea was purchased for his future upside.  A work in progress that the club (and anyone else with a passing knowledge of the game) knew was going to take some time.

 Seems to me that this article was written by a neophyte that is not only trying to smear Shea by insinuating without any proof of an involvement in a prank, but is also a pathetically uninformed attempt to portray Shea as not living up to expectations.

Brian_
Brian_

Ah, a "journalist" troll... how new and different.

I'm suddenly reminded of the film Billy Madison, when after he gave his "Puppy Who Lost His Way" speech, the debate monitor (and principal) remarked, "Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

By the way, it was Jones' girlfriend that went on a Twitter rant, not him. It's a shame bloggers aren't held accountable for misinformation the way real journalists are. Oh, wait...

msj3
msj3

This is a horribly researched and written article. Pulis knew that Shea was injured, and even in the article you cite Pulis says his injuries, not form are what keep him from playing. Sounds like you have something against the player himself to make such a hastily thrown together smear piece.

captfantastic
captfantastic

Shea has continued to struggle to recover from the injury that effected him prior to being sold…. or so that is what Pulis was telling people.  I think it's fair to give Brek a benefit of a doubt and see what happens in August.  

Pretty sure his involvement in the "prank" was limited to him tweeting a pic of him holding the head.

TomTraubert
TomTraubert

Kenwyne Jones is a Rastafarian, not a Muslim (pork is verboten for them as well). Stoke said Shea was brought in for the future, and by their standards was a real bargain. He needs to work harder though...that lack of effort frustrated the Dallas staff badly. He'll step it up or be gone.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@Joshjuststruckoutagain wtf is going on here? @ScottsMerkin asks for more sportsy posts so we get soccer? We can't even get juicy school teacher sex scandal stuff around here, but soccer? 

A few scattershots.....GW's new blog is a train wreck, I have to check daily so I can feel better about my life and how normal I am. I'm becoming a fan of MTC(my ticket confession), lots of good strongs posting about how THL sucks but is still 5x better than anything else on during drive time. Since Sportatorium shut down, I've been a more of a Deadspin fan. You have to wade through a bunch of crap but there's a couple of interesting posts a day, although not metroplexy it helps get me by. Would really enjoy a good strong 2-3 sports posts from the Observer. I mean, you could throw out a box score or the insignificance of the Mavs getting the #13 pick and you'll get page clicks. Or more teacher sex scandals. 

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@PrestonHoller You've selectively quoted that article as well, though. See my comment a couple down with Pulis' quotes from the same article regarding Shea finding it "difficult". I think it's a mix of the two, the lack of fitness and the acclimatizing required. If I was Pulis in the relegation battle they were mired in, and Shea was even remotely fit, I would have chucked him right in at the deep end.

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@msj3"He's come here and I think he's enjoyed it but he's found it difficult at times. It's just making sure we look after him, we manage him well enough and then, when his time comes, his time comes."

he's come over from America and it's getting used to everything, getting used to the weather, the set-up. People sometimes don't take that into consideration."


 I think it's a mix of the two - the English game is one of the most difficult to get up to speed in, as well as him being patently unfit. Since November is an awful long rehab on an operation, but a full pre-season will be his chance.

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@TomTraubert You've got to think, at 23 and in the midst of a relegation battle, that even "one for the future" would be chucked into a team which views Ryan Shotton as a winger. Pulis has never trusted flair players, though - there's a chance Brek will have a bigger role next season. If he still can't break into the team start of 2013-14 he's a goner, future or not.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

@cleaver.gavin @PrestonHoller If you were in a regulation battle, you would have "chucked [Shea] right in at the deep end"?!  Really?  If you were Pulis, you'd go to the Stoke Board and say: "Shea was NOT bought to make an impact this season.  He specifically was a work-in-progress.  I know he's been injured.  I know he is young. I know he has no experience in the EPL and the experience he has is in the second rate MLS.  But geesh guys, he is officially 'remotely' fit.  Let's put him in right now and gamble losing tens of millions of pounds in television rights in a close fought relegation battle.  I'm going to stake my reputation on him."

Do you 'remotely" know anything about the game?

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

@cleaver.gavin  What player hasn't found the EPL "difficult"?  Seasoned professionals from La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga routinely need a bit of adjusting to the EPL.  Of course an injured 23 year old from the MLS is going to have a bit of "difficulty."  

msj3
msj3

@cleaver.gavin Agreed. The ramp up time for a young player, even if in top health moving from MLS to the BPL is substantial. The author saying he has been "sucking at soccer" shows a clear gap in knowledge of the sport.

msj3
msj3

@cleaver.gavin @TomTraubert Shea was recovering from injury prior to the transfer, and is still recovering. This article was written by someone who doesn't follow the sport.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@PrestonHoller @cleaver.gavin So theyd rather have shea playing for a relegated team than have him at least attempt to help keep them up?  Its moot now but seriously

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@PrestonHoller @cleaver.gavin I know that if I were in a 'regulation' battle and my choice for a pacy winger was between a fit Ryan Shotton and a barely fit Brek Shea, which one I would opt for. Pulis is well known for defending his players to the hilt, the siege mentality is part of the reason Stoke have been so successful despite having one of the least amount of flair players in the league. They've had Dean Bleeding Whitehead in midfield for four seasons, for goodness' sakes, while QPR just bombed with Granero in the same role (although the misdeeds of QPR are a whole different argument).


And yes, until I moved out to Dallas I was a season ticket holder at my local side (the unstoppable hornets of Watford FC) for 20 years, from the age of 8. How do you do. I know you're wishing us well for our play-off final on Monday.

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@PrestonHoller @cleaver.gavin Brian McBride! Got a blood clot in his first loan spell at Preston, and they still tried to buy him. Then Moyes signed him on loan for Everton and he was spectacular.

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@yesiwilliams @cleaver.gavin @Big.Mike @msj3 Lichaj is American eh? I guess I always pegged him as European with that name! Guzan is a good call, obvious one too, had a good season even in that awful Villa team. And yes, you're right, Cameron is American too. Well colour me stupid.

yesiwilliams
yesiwilliams

@cleaver.gavin @Big.Mike @msj3 emerson hydamen is on fulham's u18s (who just won the u18 league title). expected to be on full-team in next few seasons.

 but that is just fulham. plenty of americans in the epl. guzan, cameron, lihaj, etc.


cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@Big.Mike @cleaver.gavin @msj3 Yeah, you're right, I just remember them as the team of Bocanegra, Dempsey and McBride. Oh, and Kasey Keller. Does this make Friedel, Shea and Howard the only 3 left in the EPL?

Big.Mike
Big.Mike

@cleaver.gavin @msj3 When was the last time Fulham bought an American?  And haven't they not had an American on the team since they sold Deuce last season...

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@msj3 @cleaver.gavin Unless you're Brian McBride, who was phenomenal. You know, I always assumed Shea would sign for Fulham, that America-On-Thames.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@msj3 I thought @cleaver.gavin wrote the article but I see Eric did, which confuses me since Gavin knows the sport and the league well.  Oh well my,  but my point still stands, why waste the guy, Pulis was an idiot

msj3
msj3

@ScottsMerkin @msj3 @cleaver.gavin @TomTraubert No, that isn't what I said. I was referring to the person who wrote the article. But holy fuck you is right, reading is fundamental.

msj3
msj3

@cleaver.gavin @msj3 @TomTraubert Some players are brought to the US camp to make use of the medical and rehab facilities, under the staffs eyes. This will be the second camp Shea has participated in under this context.

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@msj3 @cleaver.gavin @TomTraubert I mean, perhaps, it's just odd he was back in the US squad in March after making his Stoke debut in Feb. Apparently there have been a couple of relapses, but he's also featured in reserve/U-21 games for Stoke in that time too. Like we said, next season will tell.

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