Zak Boggs believes he's still got game.
The former Parkersburg High School soccer standout, who was a member of Major League Soccer's New England Revolution for three seasons then spent 10 months abroad after accepting a Fullbright Scholarship to study medical sciences at Leicester University, has resurfaced as a member of the Charlotte Eagles in the United Soccer Leagues' Professional Division.
"Playing in the USL Professional Division is a little humbling based on the fact I've played at the top level," Boggs said. "Everything was taken care of - the travel and all sorts of other things. In the USL, games are fast and it's a grind.
"I've gotten better since I played at New England. When I was there, it was a really competitive world for soccer. Now you are bringing in players from all over so I guess that's a testament to what is happening to soccer here in the USA."
With Charlotte, the 27-year-old has been asked to fill an assortment of roles. He hopes that versatility increases his stock and makes himself attractive so that a club from the MLS will come calling.
"I'm working every day to get back to the MLS," Boggs said. "It's about finding the right connections at the right time."
Until that opportunity occurs, Boggs and his Charlotte teammates continue to try and improve their status in the league standings. With matches scheduled Friday at the Harrisburg City Islanders and Saturday at the Rochester Rhinos, the Eagles own a record of 4-8-1, which ranks them 11th out of 14 teams.
"I've played a whole lot of different positions," Boggs said. "I've played center striker, played wing on both sides and middle defender. This should make me a more attractive player and that's definitely a good thing."
Joining any MLS club would be a bonus. And that includes the Revolution, which issued a press release that Boggs had "retired" when he accepted the Fullbright Scholarship. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially since Boggs joined a soccer team once he arrived in England.
His daily routine while overseas would start with workouts at 6 a.m. followed by a minimum of eight hours spent in a research lab. Eventually he joined his soccer mates only if the fields weren't frozen.
"The news given by New England was 100 percent misleading," Boggs said. "I think they wanted to get me off their books, and it's unfortunate the way it went down. A lot of miscommunication had something to do with it.
"I've communicated with them since then and there is definitely a better understanding from both parties."
Before he turns his attention to this weekend's matches, Boggs will keep tabs on how the USA fares against Germany in this afternoon's World Cup match. A draw guarantees that the American squad advances out of pool play.
"The Americans have done really well," Boggs said. "The United States have a German coach who is actually good friends with the coach from Germany. I wouldn't put it past the United States if they do something special."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org