Juan Agudelo's lengthy quest to find his next club has hit another snag.
Lack of match fitness appears to be the U.S. men's national team forward's downfall, according to comments made by Wolverhampton manager Kenny Jackett. Agudelo, a free agent, had been training at the English League Championship club that used to employ American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
“Juan is not a player that are going to pursue,” Jackett told the club's official website. “He has been here on trial, and we thank him for coming here and training and hope he enjoyed his time with us. But both parties will now move on."
Agudelo hasn't played regularly since completing a loan with FC Utrecht from Stoke City last May. Agudelo had left MLS' New England Revolution for Stoke at the end of last MLS season, but he was denied a UK work permit. Stoke loaned him to the Eredivisie club while biding time for another visa appeal, and he scored three goals in 14 appearances. He was denied his second work permit appeal, though, and Stoke cut him loose. His last game time came on May 3.
“We felt that match fitness was the key for Juan," Jackett said. "To get him up to Championship standard he would need to play games and it is hard to go from nothing straight into the Championship. That can be tough, and while the odd player does it most people don’t – you need a run of games and need to build up.
“So it was nothing to do with his ability levels, just that he hasn’t played. Drawing some likenesses we also have some players out on loan playing regularly who could come back in a good rhythm and with match fitness under their belts.”
Agudelo, 21, left the Revolution on a free transfer, so the club maintains his MLS rights. After seemingly being on the fast track to becoming a U.S. regular after scoring in two of his first three caps with the national team as a 17 year old, his international career has sputtered. Agudelo's last international minutes came at the end of a March 2014 friendly against Ukraine. Prior to that, he hadn't suited up for the USA since January 2013.