There's a whole lot of love for Americans at Reebok Stadium.
Three years after Stuart Holden was named Bolton's Player of the Year during its 2010-11 Premier League campaign, U.S. defender Tim Ream earned those same honors after a successful individual season in England's second tier. Earlier in the week he was named the Player of the Year by the club's official supporters association, as well. The club's award was voted on by fans, too.
“It’s a really cool feeling to be recognized again by the club’s supporters,” Ream told the club's official website. “As I said before, it’s nice and humbling knowing that people think you’ve done a good job, but at the end of the day it’s about the squad. Personally, the past two years have definitely been a real eye opener. When I was involved last season I was a little unnerved purely by how different the style was to the other leagues I’ve played in.
“There are so many demands in this league and to begin with I probably wasn’t prepared for that, but it definitely gave me motivation coming into this season.
“I feel settled off the field, and that’s also a big factor whether people believe it or not. I feel happy and am working in a structure and program that really helps us, as players.”
Ream, a St. Louis University center back groomed by the New York Red Bulls for two seasons before making his move to England, offered versatility to Bolton, playing every position across the back line in addition to central midfield during a season that will see the club finish mid-table and have to wait at least one more year before playing its way back to the EPL.
Has Ream's season put him into World Cup roster contention? Considering the in-flux state of the U.S. defense it would be hard to rule the 26-year-old out entirely, even if he did not take part in World Cup qualifying. He was called into U.S camp prior to the national team's friendly against Ukraine on March 5, but he had to withdraw, reportedly due to his wife giving birth to their first child. He has not played for the USA since October 2011, when he was a substitute against Ecuador in a 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena, which was then his home stadium. He was part of the U.S. roster for last summer's 4-3 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, but he did not get on the field. He has seven career caps, all earned in 2010 and 2011.