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Players Who Are Surging, On Fire

A few players in world soccer who are blowing up. Here's a short list:

Confidence is such a big part of anything you do, and for some reason, sometimes things just all come together and you’re off and running and playing well. You can’t be stopped.

The first goal comes and you get a surge of confidence. The next week you’re more willing to take a player on and that leads to another goal. Then you try that first time volley and it goes in. Your first touch is exquisite. Then you try that move and the defender falls down. The game is alive; everybody else is in slow motion. You see things so clearly.

What causes this: New girlfriend? New team? New soccer cleats? New surroundings? A coach who just gets the most out of them?

Why does it happen? Does all the hard work finally pay off? What clicks to make a player not just play well but play like they’re in the zone?

Clint Dempsey of Fulham
He’s been on a goal-scoring rampage for Fulham the past few months. He topped it off the other day with a volley that’s already being called a potential goal of the year in the EPL. He was named the third best player in the Confederations Cup, earning the Bronze Ball. Kaka received the gold and Fernando Torres the silver, some good company to say the least. That’s got to give you a confidence boost, and it actually brought the rapper from Texas to tears. If Dempsey keeps it up he might end up at a bigger club. Could he be the first American to have success in one European league and then move on to another and do well?

Pedrito of Barcelona
He has put Bojan on the bench, perhaps permanently. He’s the beneficiary of playing with Iniesta, Xavi, Messi, Henry, and so on, scoring goals at the mouth of the goal, but they’re goals nonetheless and he’s now making a name for himself, too. He scored a stunner of a goal against Almeria. He’s not afraid of going at players and most likely due to his growing up in the Barcelona system, he's meshed with the core team with ease. If you watch him play these days you know he's loving every minute of it since he's always smiling.

Carlos Tevez at Manchester City
Manchester United and Alex Ferguson surely miss him. New Manchester City coach, Mancini, loves him already. I thought he should have stayed with United, but he didn't feel like he was wanted by the coach. But it doesn’t matter where Tevez lands, he’s still going to run and run and score and work. The Argentine is Manchester City’s best signing hands down and a fan favorite now at West Ham, Manchester United, and Manchester City. He has 9 goals so far for The Blues.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United
He’s helped Manchester forget Tevez and Cristiano a little bit, with his outstanding season so far. Perhaps that's just what Rooney needed. He needed those guys to leave to put more pressure on his own shoulders. Rooney is now the man and has to be the man in order for Manchester to win. He’s scoring goals, chasing down balls, slicing through defenders and all with a fighting spirit that’s contagious. He really does it all. If he can duplicate this form in the World Cup for England this summer they won’t leave South Africa very soon.

Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspurs
The speedy winger is hard to catch, the proof lies in the fact he has eight assist so far this year. The Hotspurs are a quality side, and he’s one of their main engines of not just speed but creativity. The Spurs sit in four place in the table thanks to his ability to get down the line and get the ball across the goalmouth. He will beat out Beckham for the starting slot on the English national team. He's only 22 and at 5 feet 5 inches he's probably the shortest player on this list. The only thing that will stop him his an injury.

Gabriel Obertan of Manchester United
This is a player who is poised to pop. He’s a skinny Frenchman who plays like Thierry Henry, floating along the wings and then bursting down the touchline when you least expect it. And, although Ferguson might be slowly working him into the side, I don’t think Obertan will spend as much time on the sidelines in the second half of the season. He glides along with the ball and passes the ball beautifully, give and goes with Rooney, Giggs and the rest. He already has a good understanding with his United teammates.

Donvoan of the LA Galaxy & Everton
He might just end up in this group, too, a surging player for Everton. He’s had a marvelous year for the U.S. national team and the LA Galaxy. He is the best American soccer player without a doubt. And if he didn’t miss that penalty kick up in Seattle, he could have held an MLS Cup above his head once again. Let’s say he scores a debut goal for Everton. He’ll lose the landycakes moniker and it will be game on from there. I hope so. He deserves European success. He got divorced a while back. Does that have something to do with why he’s playing so well? Who knows. Perhaps he learned some lessons from playing with Beckham, who’s a true professional despite his pop culture fame. Donovan is just 27. He’s in his prime. If he can play with Swine flu and score volleys like this one he'll do fine in England. Heck, these days he's feeling so good he's even doing funny commercials for the Mexican lotto.


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