If you follow me on Twitter, you saw me rambling about this yesterday for a bit. But after looking at some standings and tables in Europe, I noticed that there could be an American goalkeeper in France’s Ligue 1 in 2011-12. That goalie, pictured above, is Quentin Westberg.
With that said, it likely would be as a back-up goalkeeper.
For those that don’t follow too closely, Westberg is the back-up keeper at Evian Thonon Gaillard in France’s second division (Ligue 2). In France’s Ligue 2, the top three teams are promoted each season. Evian are currently in first place of Ligue 2 with 61 points, ahead of Dijon who is also on 61 points, but has a slightly smaller goal differential (+20 to +16). But with two games left on the schedule, there are five teams basically battling for those three spots.
Evian TG – 61 points (+20 GD)
Dijon – 61 points (+16 GD)
Le Mans – 59 points (+11 GD)
Ajaccio – 58 points (+5 GD)
Sedan – 56 points (+20 GD)
As I mentioned above, he is currently the back-up goalkeeper, but should be involved in their promotion push. Evian’s starter, Bertrand Laquait, picked up a thigh injury and is out for the rest of the season. Laquait has started 34 of the team’s 36 games in league play this year with Westberg starting the other two games, including Evian’s game this past weekend. The other goalie on the roster, 29-year-old Johann Durand, has appeared in only one game this season, coming off the bench to relieve Laquait after he picked up his injury two weeks ago.
Most reports before this previous weekend’s game had Bernard Casoni still deciding whether to go with Westberg or Durand, with Casoni selecting Westberg. That decision now looks to be a smart one as Westberg anchored a defense that held his former team Troyes scoreless as Evian won 3-0. In Westberg’s other start in league play this season, he picked up another clean sheet in a 0-0 draw to Boulogne on September 27.
So if Casoni decides to go with Westberg again in the final two games, he has a good chance to solidify his spot as the #2 keeper for a possible Ligue 1 side or even impress some teams (possibly another Ligue 2 team?) into acquiring his services as a starting goalkeeper for 2011-12.
And for those of you that don’t know Westberg’s story, he was actually born and raised in France to an American father and a French mother. While he was raised in France, he chose to play for the US at the international level, first at the 2003 U-17 World Cup (notable players from that team: Jonathan Spector, Eddie Gaven, Freddy Adu, Danny Szetela and currently injured Mjøndalen defender Kyle Helton) then at the 2005 U-20 World Cup (notable players from that team: Marvell Wynne, Jonathan Spector, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Freddy Adu, Lee Nguyen and Hunter Freeman).
Westberg got his first experience with a senior team at Troyes during the 2006-07 season. He spent four seasons at Troyes before signing with Evian in September of 2010.
Even if he is a back-up next season, it still would be nice to see another American on a top-flight team in one of the better leagues in Europe.