Tim Ream chose a move to Fulham this month over other potential options due to the club’s rich history of nurturing American talent.
The experienced defender admitted that leaving Bolton Wanderers, the side who had given him his chance in European football, was a real wrench but the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Brian McBride, who also furthered his footballing skills at St. Louis University like Ream, amongst others proved too good to resist. He had been heavily linked with a potential transfer to recently relegated QPR, but plumped for a move to Craven Cottage instead.
That was a big sticking point for me, the guys who have come before me, Brian McBride – being a St. Louis University guy, myself as well – and Kasey Keller and (Carlos) Bocanegra and (Clint) Dempsey,” said Ream. “You look at the guys who have played there and really had successful careers there and it really just felt right. With the way they’ve been treated and were welcomed with open arms and had such good careers there, it helped in the decision.
There were a lot of things that go into it: footballing decisions, what they were doing off the field, the type of club that it is, the way its run, the way its organized. I mean, it’s a Premier League club in everything that they do, and when I saw that – QPR is also a well-run club – but the fact that they had so many Americans that have come before me there really put it over the top for me.
Ream’s final day at Bolton was an emotional one, as he told renowned American football writer Ives Garcelep.
I was the very last one to leave that day, and the last one in the car park. I just sat there in the car not really knowing what the next move would be but knowing that for myself and for my family that the next move was forward. I choked up a little bit, to be honest. It was a tough decision to leave after so many good years for myself, but one that I ultimately felt I needed.
Having impressed in his opening two Fulham outings against Sheffield United and Rotherham, Ream’s next immediate target is to try and break into the United States’ defence ahead of the mouthwatering clash with Mexico in October. There is the opportunity to impress national coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is keen to experiment with his central defensive options in two friendlies against Peru and Brazil over the next few days although the 27 year-old knows he will need to be at his very best.
You work so hard at your club to get in here and be recognized by the coaches here and to now have done that, it’s for me to take that next step and really perform well while I’m here. If you get a chance in games, you have to take it by the scruff of the neck and hopefully that puts you in a good position to then firmly place yourself not only in the squad as a whole but hopefully as a starter come the next camp and the next camp and the next camp.