What pops into your head when you hear the name Benny Felihaber? Most would ask “Who’s that?” Or avid US Soccer fans might think he is a guy who is very underrated. Others might think I know the name but I don’t know who he is. Well, I am going to answer those question.
Benny Felihaber is a Brazilian-born American who currently plays for Sporting KC. Felihaber started his soccer career at a very young age playing for youth teams all around New York. Felihaber then went on to play college soccer, as a walk on, with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Benny played for two years and then was called to play for the U-20 US National Team in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. After a stellar performance in the World Youth Championships, Felihaber played for Hamburg SV in Germany. He scored three goals in 58 appearances for Hamburg. Felihaber continued his career playing ten games with Derby County, English Premier League at the time. Felihaber played his final three seasons in Europe with AGF Aarhus, Danish Superliga. In his 58 appearances with AGF Aarhus, Felihaber netted five goals. In 2011, Felihaber made his way back to the US to play with the New England Revolution. In 52 games with the Revolution, he scored five times. After the 2012 MLS season, Felihaber was traded to Sporting KC for two picks and allocation money. This past January, Felihaber had the chance to play with the US Men’s National Team.
Now that you know all about Felihaber, we can talk about why is so underrated. He is a midfielder who helps stops goals rather than score goals. Felihaber is what we call a central attacking midfielder, meaning he keeps the ball from coming to the back defense ultimately stopping a creation of a scoring chance. Also, Felihaber would rather pass the ball to someone who is closer to scoring than keep it and get it stolen. This shows he does not play selfishly. Felihaber has a great team-first mentality that many players do not possess.
Felihaber is extremely underrated also because he has a rough season from time-to-time. He has never scored many goals and has had stints where he scores none. Fans think a player is better because he scores goal and always has the spotlight, such as David Beckham. Felihaber is not this way. He is a guy who puts others in the spotlight. Some might say Felihaber flies “under the radar”.
A final reason why Felihaber is underrated is because he is a risk-taker. Felihaber always takes risk that sometimes don’t work out. He shows fans he likes taking risk but yet fans still underestimate him because a lot of the time his risk don’t pay out. For example, he will kick a ball through a tight space to his teammate and make the pass. The risk creates a great scoring chance. Other times, he will kick a ball though a tight space but miss his target and it gets stolen, resulting in a bad pass and a possible chance for the other team.
Many media members do not like Felihaber’s type of play but I find that Felihaber might have a better type of play then most of MLS players. The only reason why the media do not like Felihaber’s type of play is because he does not play selfishly. This world has looked and looked for people to steal the spotlight and Felihaber does nothing of the sorts, he is hardly in the spotlight and enjoys giving it to others.