Commerce City, Colo. - For the third time in his career, Jeff Larentowicz is training with a European team during the offseason. However, it's the first time the midfielder is getting an up-close look at an English Premier League club, as Larentowicz has just completed his first week training with Bolton Wanderers.
"This came about from speaking to Jurgen Klinsmann at camp while I was in Miami with the team," Larentowicz told ColoradoRapids.com from England. "He asked me if I'd be interested in playing overseas for a few weeks to gain experience and continue competing at a high level following the end of the season. I decided I wanted to do it and ended up at Bolton for a few weeks."
Larentowicz's previous overseas training stints include six weeks at Malmo FF in Sweden in 2004, which was set up by his college coach at Brown, and then two weeks at Ipswich Town in the English Championship, a trip organized by Paul Mariner, then an assistant coach on Larentowicz's New England Revolution club.
"The opportunity is one that I couldn't pass up," Larentowicz said of going to England. "To be considered first of all is great, but to be given such an opportunity at a Premiership club is one that doesn't come around often. Since I've been here it's been everything I had imagined -- fast paced, high intensity, fun, while everyone at Bolton have made me feel very welcome."
After helping the Rapids win MLS Cup 2010, Larentowicz had arguably his best season in MLS in 2011. He played in 41 of the club's 44 competitive matches and led the team with eight goals. His success in managing the middle part of the field for the Rapids earned him a handful call ups from recently appointed U.S. Men's National Team head coach Klinsmann.
Larentowicz is one of a handful of MLS players on the national team pool that Klinsmann has set up offseason training stints for. Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman and Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers will be practicing with FC Kaiserslautern in Germany, and New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo will train with Stuttgart, also in Germany.
"Like I said, to even be considered is a great compliment," Larentowicz added. "And I only hope to continue to perform in a way that allows me to compete at this level. This year playing with the National Team has been a true challenge and this trip to England is no different. But the more I am able to play with players of this calibre the more I learn and improve."
The 28-year is expecting to stay at Bolton for about three weeks.