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Edu remains upbeat despite turmoil

The former Toronto FC midfielder joined Rangers in 2008.
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Ives Galarcep

Ives Galarcep is a 14-year veteran of the American soccer beat. He created and operates the popular American soccer blog, Soccer By Ives, which was voted Best American Soccer Blog by US Soccer in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ives was also voted Best Football Writer by SoccerLens in 2010. 
 

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Maurice Edu knew his club wasn’t in the strongest of financial situations for some time. He watched Glasgow Rangers frugal approach to roster building in recent years, and even told fellow Americans Carlos Bocanegra and Alejandro Bedoya about the team’s financial constraints before they both signed with Rangers a year ago.

What Edu never could have known, or even imagined, was Rangers’ teetering on the brink of financial disaster.

“It’s been crazy because when I first went there the club was in a little bit of financial constraints,” Edu said. “We didn’t have the leisure like some clubs have to buy players all the time. Maybe we took players on loan or got players on cheap deals or whatever the case was, so there was always that little bit of a constraint.

“But this year, everything just kind of catapulted to the extreme, which I don’t think anybody saw coming,” Edu said. “For us, it’s a situation that not any of us have dealt with before.”

Rangers players dealt with the team’s uncertain future for much of the past Scottish Premier League season, which made fighting through the year a difficult trial for a group of players who had enjoyed so much success with the club in recent years.

“It definitely is hard,” Edu said. “As a player and a professional, you try to ease your mind and take the stress off yourself by just when you have a chance to play games and train, you just indulge yourself in that. I just try and take my mind off of it when I’m playing, but at the same time what you are playing is what’s being affected.

“Your livelihood is at stake at the end of the day so it’s not an easy situation to look past, but we just try to stick together as a team as much as possible,” Edu said. “At the end of the day all we had was each other to depend on and we were in that struggle together so we tried to be strong for one another.”

The Rangers financial scandal has dominated the media in Scotland for months, which made it that much tougher for Edu and his teammates to try and ignore.

“I tried to stay away from it as much as possible, tried not to read the newspapers, tried not to watch TV, but at the end of the day it’s around you all the time,” Edu said. “You come into training and there’s a million cameras waiting for you. I tried to avoid and just get the updates from the club, which wasn’t always the easiest thing because sometimes it would come out in the press before we would hear about it.

“It was a situation that was weighing on our minds, and is still weighing on our minds because nothing is finalized,” Edu said. “The fact that it’s dragged on this long is a nervous situation and an uneasy situation to be in.”

Edu has been fortunate enough to find a distraction from the Rangers drama in his recent stretch with the US national team. He spent a month with the national team, and has enjoyed some vacation time in the United States since, even taking part in the recent Lionel Messi charity game in Miami.

“Things have happened fast since the end of the season because we came straight into camp, and my mind just focused on the national team,” Edu said. “That has been another outlet so I just tried to clear my mind and focus on the national team and training camp. It was fun for me to be back in with that group of guys and easy for me to shift my focus and worry about things with the national team.”

The camaraderie of his countrymen has become a regular source of comfort for Edu, who admitted that having Bocanegra and Bedoya on the team helped with the drama surrounding the club.

“It was good having them there but I kind of felt bad for them because in their first season they walk right into that,” Edu said. “When they would talk to me beforehand I told them about how there was a little financial constraint with the club, how we hadn’t been able to buy too many players and all that, so they were aware of that, but nobody saw all this coming.

“To walk into a situation like this is difficult for them, but again, the fact that we had each other to lean on, we were all in the same situation, we could just try and talk our way through things and be there for one another as much as we could.”

Despite all the recent drama surrounding Rangers, and the fact that the team’s future is in jeopardy, Edu has no regrets about the move he made from MLS to Scotland four years ago.

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“I’ve been pleased with the way things have gone for me in Scotland,” Edu said. “Being able to play in Champions League, win trophies, win medals, win cups, win leagues. These are things that I have dreamt of doing, and I set as goals for myself when I came to this club. I wanted to be involved in all those kind of things and to know that when my time there was finished I would have these things to look back on.”

As for his future, Edu has been the subject of transfer rumors for the past two years, and with only one year remaining on his current contract with Rangers, a move away from the club this summer seems inevitable, even if the team can overcome its current situation.

Edu has been strongly linked to a move to Turkish club Bursaspor, and while Edu isn’t ready to talk about whether he is leaving Rangers just yet, he admits that he has strong aspirations to move on to bigger challenges on the club level.

“I’m no different than anyone else. You want to go as far as you can in this game,” Edu said. “You want to see how far you can go. It’s a short career, you know? You want to try and play at the highest levels possible and test yourself against some of the best players.

“I’m no different. Those are things I definitely have ambitions to do and goals I have set for myself.”

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FOXSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the US National Team.

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