A sturdy defender with overseas experience, Heath Pearce, 24, has moved himself right up in the reckoning in Bob Bradley's USA national team. Like a number of younger American players, Pearce opted to bypass Major League Soccer and hit our directly for Europe after a successful three-year stay at Collegiate powers University of Portland.
He landed in the Danish top flight with FC Nordsjælland in 2005 and spent two seasons at the Northern European club. In 2008, the fullback headed for greener pastures, and the German Bundesliga with Hansa Rostock. After making a handful of appearances for the first team in his debut season (the same year Hansa were relegated to the second division), he was eventually sent down to the reserves to refine his technique and work on his discipline. After a move to Turkey’s top flight feel through in 2009, Pearce returned home to the States to sign with MLs outfit FC Dallas.
The former U-20 standout defender made his international debut under former boss Bruce Arena in a friendly against Scotland in 2005. The coach tapped Pearce for several pre-FIFA World Cup Germany 2006™ training camps, but in the end decided to leave him out of his final squad. Since Bradley took over from Arena after the 2006 finals, though, Pearce has become a first-choice left back in the team, making a mark in the current qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010.