LUKE Boden made his name at Sheffield Wednesday as a striker or midfield player.
But it is as a left-back that he is aiding a title push in America with James O’Connor’s club, Orlando City - as Mark Beevers and Tommy Spurr have discovered.
Best pals Beevers and Spurr went to see their old mate on a holiday in Florida
Boden, aged 23, moved to Orlando almost 17 months ago after being released by the Owls.
He was joined by O’Connor in January when the Irishman left Hillsborough under freedom of contract.
Beevers and Spurr, who now plays for Doncaster, were in the same Wednesday age-group as Boden.
During their America trip they missed O’Connor because he had gone back over the Atlantic to finalise his UEFA pro coaching licence.
After the reunion with Boden, Beevers says: “He’s absolutely loving it out there - he doesn’t want to come back! He’s in his second season there and playing left-back.”
Beevers and Spurr spent a week in America. They returned to Newcastle Airport at 5.45am on Friday, and later that day Beevers called in at the Owls to sign his new two-year contract. Spurr and Beevers saw Boden play in a 3-0 home win against Harrisburg City Islanders at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
O’Connor was back for an away game last Friday against Dayton Dutch Lions and played, along with Boden, in a 2-2 draw.
Orlando then faced Pittsburg Riverhounds away the next day, with Boden in the side and O’Connor going on as an 82nd minute sub in a 1-1 draw.
City are five points clear at the top of the United Soccer League Pro Division, the third tier of the American game.
They are managed by former Sheffield United player and boss Adrian Heath, and will play home
friendlies this month against Stoke, who are one of his former clubs, and Forest.
Boden, Spurr and Beevers all came through the Wednesday youth system.
Spurr and Beevers became established first-team players. Boden, the only Sheffielder among the three, made four senior starts for the club and 15 appearances as a sub.
He also had loan spells at Chesterfield, Rushden and Northampton.
Spurr, from Leeds, was sold by Wednesday to Doncaster for around £200,000 in the summer of last
year, having never played for no other club apart from the Owls.
Beevers, from Barnsley, went on loan from Hillsborough to MK Dons last season but was keen to stay with Wednesday and is hoping to stay in their team in the Championship, having ended last season at left back.
There is no suggestion that he is making a career switch to this position but his versatility proved to be a bonus.
Meanwhile, a few places for traders remain at the Owls’ community day in Hillsborough Park a week on Saturday. To book, e-mail Julie Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.