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Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Ex-QPR Birthdays: Ian Dawes, Andy Gray and Juergen Sommer

Birthdays today for ex-QPRs:Ian Dawes (45), Andy Gray (44) and Juergen Sommer (44) [Edit: According to Wikipedia, Sommer's birthday is February 27. and he's 39. If so, Advanced happy birthday!)

Ex-QPR fullback, Ian Dawes Turns 45: Born February 22, 1963
Former QPR Youth player, Dawes Given his debut by Terry Venables in 1981-1982, he was an ever-present in QPR's promotion season - and for the next 3 seasons as well (making up a defense of Hucker: Neil Wicks Fenwick Dawes. (1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86). Altogether he played just under 250 games for QPR. He was transferred to Millwall in 1988, wher he played 250+ games. See Dawes/QPR Stats (See Dawes' Millwall Career:
Where is he now? In October, 2005, Dawes was appointed manager of non-league Redhill. A year later, in October 2006, Dawes was sacked by Redhill. See Also: Wikipedia: Ian Dawes

OTHER February 22 Birthdays:

Andy Gray - February 22, 1964. Signed by Trevor Francis...Sold by Trevor Francis a few months later. See Wikipedia/Andy Gray

Juergen Sommer: February 22, 1964 [or maybe February 27, 1969]-Our American goalie, signed by Ray Wilkins for 600,000 pounds from Luton in our relegation season. Wikipedia/Sommer

Where is Sommer Now?
Just a couple of weeks ago: Colorado Rapids
The Colorado Rapids announced today that JUERGEN SOMMER has been named the team’s Director of Soccer and GARY SMITH has been added to the club as an Assistant Coach.
In his newly-created position, Sommer will work closely with the coaching staff and General Manager Charlie Wright on scouting, the Rapids youth academy, and operational aspects of the club in accordance with MLS rules and guidelines. The Rapids will also see the benefits of Sommer’s addition, as he will work directly with the first team goalkeepers...
“Juergen’s and Gary’s backgrounds as coaches and players will prove to be valuable assets to our team and our business,” said Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush.
“With the contributions they will make to our on-pitch performance as part of our technical staff, we are a better club with their additions. As importantly, both are quality individuals who are committed to helping us reach our stated goal of becoming a premier team.”
A former NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year, Sommer has spent the last two years working as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Indiana University. He also has recently served as the goalkeeper coach for the U.S. Men's National Team. Sommer earned 10 international caps with the U.S. National Team from 1990 to 1998. Following his playing career at Indiana, Sommer signed with Luton Town of the English First Division in 1991. He led Luton Town to the FA Cup semifinals in 1993 and was named the English goalkeeper of the year that season.
In 1995, he became the first American goalkeeper to play in the English Premier League when he suited up for Queens Park Rangers. Sommer returned to the U.S. and played in the MLS from 1998-2002 with the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. He played 54 games in his MLS career, making 249 saves. Sommer was named to the All-Star team his final year in MLS. While with the Revolution, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard University. Sommer was the 1990 NCAA adidas Goalkeeper of the Year and led the 1988 IU team to an NCAA Championship.
Smith comes to the Rapids with ten years of experience as a professional player and full-time coach in the English FA. A UEFA “A” badge holder, he recently served as the reserve team coach for English Premier League’s Watford Football Club. Smith’s background also includes coaching with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and Wimbledon Football Club, both located in London, England, throughout the past decade. Colorado Rapids

Luton Profile of Juergen Sommer
Height: 6ft, 04in.
Weight: 15st, 12lb.

Born: New York, 27.02.1969.

Nationality: United States of America.

International Honours: United States of America: 10 Full Caps.

Juergen was brought to Kenilworth Road as a young goalkeeper after finishing his studies at Indiana University in 1991.

As a young ‘keeper, Juergen was loaned out during the first couple of years to lower Division clubs to gain experience. He was unable to dislodge Alec Chamberlain and Andy Petterson for the two goalkeeping places in the first-team at Luton and was sent on-loan to Third Division Brighton within the first couple of months of joining the Hatters, where he made one solitary appearance at the Goldstone Ground at the beginning of the 1991-92 season. Later that season the big American was sent out on-loan again to another Third Division side, Torquay United, where he made eleven appearances in a productive spell at Plainmoor.

After the spells on loan in the lower Divisions, Juergen finally made is first appearance for the Hatters at the beginning of the 1993-94 season in an opening day win over local rivals Watford at Kenilworth Road. Although he went off injured after being involved in a nasty clash towards the end of the match with Watford, he returned for the next game and kept his place for the rest of the season, which of course cumulated in an appearance at Wembley, as Luton went on a giant-killing run towards the semi-finals of the FA Cup. He was sent off for the first and only time in his career in a 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest and missed a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City through suspension. Sommer ended the season sitting out the final match of the campaign at Stoke, where David Pleat handed Kelvin Davis his debut in a 2-2 draw at the Victoria Ground. Juergen ended the campaign with 55 appearances in League and Cup and received praise from his manager David Pleat and his excellent form towards the end of the season didn’t go un-noticed and earned him a call-up to the USA squad to play in the World Cup in 1994.

The following season saw Juergen continue between the sticks where he made 43 League and Cup appearances, but, despite his excellent shot-stopping ability, he was occasionally found wanting in the air despite his height and dominance in the penalty area. Sommer’s international commitments saw him lose his place towards the end of the season, where Kelvin Davis’ excellent performances kept Sommer warming the bench. Davis saved two penalties – one in a draw at home to Watford and one in the final match at Ayresome Park in a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough.

His form though for the Unites States and from the season before saw Queens Park Rangers table a £600,000 bid and, after four appearances at the beginning of the 1995-1996 season, he moved to Loftus Road and kept goal for Rangers in the Premiership. Unfortunately for both sides, the season ended badly with both teams relegated. Juergen’s final appearance for the Hatters came in a 1-1 home draw with Leicester City. Sommer finished his career at Kenilworth Road with 101 appearances in League and Cup.

Juergen’s time at Loftus Road was erratic. Excellent performances in home wins over Manchester United and Arsenal were followed up by less than convincing displays against some of Rangers' relegation rivals, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich. Still, he kept his place in the United States international squad and remained Rangers number in their season in the First Division.

Juergen at New England.

Sommer, though, left Loftus Road in the summer of 1998, returning back to his native USA to play for the successful Major League Soccer side US Soccer Federation, moving from Loftus Road in a deal worth £175,000.

Enjoying life back in America, he briefly returned to England on a match-by-match contract to play for Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup match at the Reebok Stadium during the 2000-01 season.

After the one game in which he performed admirably, he returned back to the States where he joined MLS side New England Revolution. He retired in 2004 and has worked as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard University.

Sommer’s shot-stopping ability was his main strength, as well as organising and communicating with his defence. Questions will always be asked about his handling in the air, and in and around the box, and a 0-1 home defeat against Burnley in 1994-95 springs to mind when he dropped the ball and allowed Burnley to take the lead and go on to win the match. But by all accounts he was still relatively young, and was an excellent shot-stopper and fully deserves the 10 caps he has to his name for representing his country.
Profile By: Andrew Barringer Luton Official Site

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