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The Trials of Tony

Tchani, in his only Crew appearance to date.
Tchani, in his only Crew appearance to date.

I had big expectations when Tony Tchani arrived. He had shown considerable promise in his short stint in the league. He's a mobile and skillful big central midfielder. Even though the Columbus Crew traded for him a little over six months ago, that promise seems so distance.

A long term knee injury held him out until the late October playoff game in Denver. He then picked up mystery illness this offseason forced him out of the Generation Adidas team that went to the Netherlands in December. The same illness also limited his offseason workout schedule.

The player the team saw as a cog for years to come has now been publicly challenged to improve. It's very rare that Warzycha would openly criticize a player, the only notable instance was in his challenge to Andres Mendoza after his crowd taunting incident last year. That's certainly not company that Tchani wants to be in.

It's easy to forget that Tchani came into the league with the expectations of a 2nd overall pick in 2010. He made an immediate impact in 2010, playing 27 league games for the New York Red Bulls. Unfortunately, Tchani was caught up in the turmoil of the NYRB's 2011 season and was traded in April to Toronto. He lasted 13 games and was traded again, to the Crew in July.

It appears the constant setbacks and challenges are taking their toll. Social media rarely provides anything beyond a manufactured image. Many players post banal thoughts about how the team played of thier latest meal. Tchani, however, has let slip a crisis of confidence. Over three tweets yesterday, he gave a rare look into his doubt filled thoughts. It's shocking to see a seemingly superhero athlete so publicly mention the depths he's feeling, physically or emotionally.

Tchani tweeted the following two tweets from his twitter account, @TonyTchani23:

Not feeling myself these couple days though n need to get things back to normal. #FocusTime

I really need His help if not it won't be good.

Later he seemed slightly more upbeat:

I have faith that everything will be fine bcuz it is just like one of those days. But never felt this way b4. #NeverGiveUp in my blood.

Sports can take a heavy physical and mental toll and most of it is behind the scenes. Most people don't see the hours of work that players put in to get into top condition. Tchani apparently is struggling with that. His body and mind apparently don't want to cooperate.

I'm not sure if his latest problems relate to his knee injury, mystery illness, or a severe doubt in himself. I only hope that Tchani can get past his current troubles and find a way to find a way back to full health. Then we can start talking about a 22 year old player with great potential rather than a troubled player.