O'Dea loving Canada
Darren O¿Dea is loving his football again after rejecting Eastern European offers to make the switch to North America.
Last Updated: 05/09/12 9:48pm
Former Leeds and Celtic defender Darren O'Dea is loving his football again after rejecting Eastern European offers to make the switch to North America.
The Republic of Ireland international spent last season on loan with the Whites, but made the shock move to MLS despite having offers to remain in Europe.
O'Dea had fallen out of love with the game in the United Kingdom, however, he did not feel inspired to go to the likes of Turkey of Greece.
Travelling from Glasgow to Leeds on a regular basis took its toll on the defender last season, although he is now enjoying he football against in Canada and is settled.
"I felt drained," explained O'Dea. "I didn't want to look at football. It was the first time I had felt like that in my life."
A few weeks later, however, a smile was back on O'Dea's face. Toronto FC invited the player to watch one of their games at their BMO Field home and everything suddenly clicked in to place.
"I felt the buzz, I felt really excited. That was when I knew I wanted to play there," he commented.
"About 4,000 agents were ringing me every day before that. I had offers from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Greece, probably even Kazakhstan, but none of them inspired me.
"A couple of them were offering very, very good money, but that's not why I started playing football. I knew I wanted to move to Toronto."
O'Dea has made a big impression during his month with the Canadian club.
He has been instrumental in plugging the leakiest defence in Major League Soccer and Toronto are edging away from the foot of the Eastern Conference.
Former England international Paul Marriner, now in charge of the MLS franchise, has sung O'Dea's praises loudly and as a result, the player has grown in confidence.
O'Dea's reward for nailing down a regular place in club football will be his 15th international cap in Friday's World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan - something which he is delighted about after recent troubled times.
"The move has helped me. I'm more confident because I'm playing games," O'Dea concluded.
"I feel a lot stronger than I did before. Last year I was playing in Leeds and I was living in Glasgow. It was three hours' drive every day, three or four times a week.
"I could barely move when I got out of the car when I got home. My family weren't settled whatsoever.
"I have been chucked about a little bit recently. I knew I was leaving Celtic two and a half years ago, it's just that my boots were still in the locker there.
"I knew it was time I settled down and I will certainly be able to do that at Toronto and I am looking forward to staying a few years there."