AMSTERDAM - Many of Omar Salgado's Generation adidas (GA) teammates will return to their MLS clubs next season with great anecdotes about things like off-season moves, overseas training visits, and the United States Olympic camp. He is, however, the only one that will be able to tell the tale of Thanksgiving dinner at Deuce's house.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward picked up that story during a recent two-week stint working out with Clint Dempsey and Fulham FC. Though the USA star was intermittently away from Craven Cottage on road trips, he made sure the 18-year-old Salgado had a proper holiday meal.
"He's a great person and he's got a great family," Salgado told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. "It was awesome, actually. I'm really thankful to his family for having me over."
As for training with an EPL club not far off a Europa League runners-up showing - well, that wasn't half bad, either.
"Being with all those guys, training with the first team and the reserves was an amazing experience," Salgado said. "It's a different type of football than anywhere else. It's quick, one-touch, two-touch - I learned a lot."
One of the busiest MLS players this off-season, the youngster also found time to take part in the initial USA Olympic camp, held in Germany last month. He spent most of the time separated with the under-20 eligibles, but got a good enough look at the first group to give a review.
"From what I saw, it looks like a strong team," said Salgado. "They have guys who have experience playing with the senior team. There's a good core of players."
As only one centre forward can play in the new 4-3-3 system, the soon-to-be Vancouver sophomore is calm over the difficult task of making the final squad, since the likes of senior USA players Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, and potentially even Jozy Altidore are in front of him in the pecking order.
"I hope for an opportunity," said Salgado. "But if not, I still have the next Olympics, which is fine."
For the time being, the Whitecaps FC apprentice is enjoying this GA trip to the fullest, confident of adding more quality memories to a bulging off-season scrapbook.
"It's a great atmosphere," he stated. "I get to meet everyone from every team and it's great to be around them. We'll do very well in these three games over here. It's a good experience for us, we get to come see the Ajax system. I think it's good to be able to come on these trips."
When he's all done gathering tales, Salgado says Vancouver fans should expect to see a new man in uniform come 2012.
"I got to spend a month-and-half in Europe and it's been good for me," he declared. "I think it will be a good preseason and season."