By: Logan Alexander
Another one. Another one. And there’s another one. Six players have entered the fray at Jacksonville Armada Football Club during the past thirteen days as the team is still in the process of stacking their roster for the 2017 NASL campaign. The newest of these arrivals is yet another young American from the USL, Peabo Doue.
The Maryland native plays his trade at left back and started his youth career locally with D.C. United in 2008. After two years with the Eagles, Doue attended college at West Virginia University from 2009 until 2012.
Regarding his senior career, Doue has remained consistent in the United Soccer League where he played for Phoenix FC, Oklahoma City Energy, and just recently, Wilmington Hammerheads. The defenseman began to play professionally in Arizona where he made eighteen appearances for Phoenix FC and scored a lone goal. He made his senior debut on March 23rd, 2013 against the Los Angeles Blues (Now Orange County Blues).
Oklahoma City is where Doue made the most impact as a professional. In fifty appearances for the Energy, Doue scored two goals. This includes one in the Conference Semifinals of the 2015 USL Playoffs against Colorado Springs which led the team to the Finals, where they eventually lost 1-2 to LA Galaxy II. It’s interesting to note that after talking to one Energy fan, this person noted that “Kalen Ryden and Peabo Doue are going to work very well together for the Armada(in the defense).” There was also more information mentioned about Doue. “Peabo was very good. This still makes me question why we let him go…”
After a shock move to Wilmington Hammerheads, Peabo made twenty appearances for the now extinct USL side, where he featured as a continuous starter. He was sent to Wilmington after not being in the plans of the coaches of Oklahoma City at the time. The now Premier Development League side made a move to go on hiatus for the 2017 season to restructure the team to compete at a level of others in the league as the USL is rapidly growing. This decision has opened the door for Doue to join the Armada but he was not first looked at by Jacksonville.
Into the picture comes New York City FC, who were affiliates with Wilmington Hammerheads. This allowed for the Blues of New York to send players to the Hammerheads to gain experience and increase in development. After Wilmington self-relegated on September 26, 2016, the players had options to continue with the club or move on to different opportunities.
A week later, NYCFC released a club statement which entailed details of their upcoming friendly with Liga MX side, Necaxa, to take place on the coming Friday, October 7th. During the midseason trip to Mexico, NYCFC called upon four Wilmington players to travel with the MLS club, which compiled to a 19-man roster making the travels. Striker, Kyle Parker, midfielder, Logan Miller, and defenders, Michael Meacham and Peabo Doue all received the privilege to train and perform with the top tier American side.
New York City FC lost the match 2-1, though the newly acquired Armada defender, Doue, made an appearance on the field that night. He replaced Andrea Pirlo in the 73rd minute. Though NYC did not work out for Doue, plenty of American clubs were eying the left back after his short stint with NYC on their trip south of the border.
Jacksonville have been a failure on quite a few levels throughout their brief history of two years, and the fullback position has been that of a tragedy over the course, which is a huge area of concern. Lucas Trejo, Bryan Burke, Anthony Wallace *cringe*, Lucas Rodríguez, and Joseph Toby are a few of the recent Armada players that could not perform at outside back consistently. The only two players that played the role to a decent level were Shawn Nicklaw and Matt Bahner, and even they found struggles out wide. The concept is very easy to understand.
A team is successful in the attack and are lethal in the goalscoring department when they are available to attack on many different cylinders. Of course a striker is the lead attacker, wingers provide support and are there to cross the ball in and make darting runs at the back line, and an attacking midfielder has their options to construct opportunities at goal and pose major threats to the opponents defense. Teams rise to another level whenever they can integrate their left and right back into the attack fluently. No matter if the center backs need to cover for the outside players while they push forward, or a midfielder has to slot into the hole in the defense, there should always be an opportunity for another player to join the forces up front.
In our history, no player has had the urge to work their way up the field. In a Bryan Burke situation, he knew how to attack from the right back position, though his defending was only average and sometimes he looked lost and would not track back quick enough. Regarding Matt Bahner and Shawn Nicklaw, they were too slow and played too conservative at the role, and when they did find themselves up the field, it was a rarity. This style of play was completely understandable though, as Matt is a center back by trade, and Nicklaw is such an exceptional defender with only decent pace. On the flip side, even the pacey defenders Jacksonville have had at their disposal in the past have turned out to be either poor crossers of the ball, or endured a torrid time defending against NASL opposition. There has been no player in an Armada jersey at that position, with a cutting edge skill at attacking with the forwards, but also tracking back to rejoin the defense in dire situations. Jacksonville need an all around versatile left back and they found one with Peabo Doue.
A highlight video can be misguiding because of its name. Highlight. Only the goals, assists, and exceptional plays are included in these types of videos to showcase the best skills and abilities of a player. Though it is dangerous to make assumptions of a player’s ability based on a five minute video, a few key elements of the new Armada signing are on displayed.
Smart: Throughout the video, every time Doue is on the ball, he has an idea of the pass he wants to make, or play he wants to create. Always keeping his head up, he finds easy passes when they are to be made, and can cross the ball in situations where the ball needs to be whipped into the box, when he sees plenty of bodies available. Key decision making is required at the fullback position.
Attacking Mindset: Consistently, Doue is seen to be either in the box or just outside the box delivering a ball into the 18-yard area, or latching onto a pass aiming for goal. A player that ravages up and down the sideline from a defensive position, can create plenty of panic for an opposing team.
Defensive Mindset: Quick to the ball, agile and aware in clutch situations. Doue can initiate an attack straight from the back line, an added ingredient to the squad. Also from the few challenges witnessed in the video, he is not afraid to put his body into a tackle or make an extra effort to rid an opponent of their attacking opportunity.
The Little Things: Watch Peabo Doue run and create space while he is off of the ball. Movement around the football can be just as dangerous as the player that is physically on the ball at that moment. Doue is committed whenever he is available in the attack and is a threat. He can sure as heck cross a ball in precisely and has a knack for creativity while pushing forward, leading to plenty of assists being displayed in the video above. The player is strong on the ball, yet also has pace about him, and can track back to his original position fairly well. A player that is free to his style of play is one that is confident and comfortable, and that can be dangerous. This is just a hope that he is not held back from what he truly has to offer at Jacksonville Armada FC.
Also it is interesting to remember that Peabo Doue and Kalen Ryden featured plenty of times, together, for Oklahoma City Energy. That partnership between the two is said to be crucial and works very well together as mentioned earlier. From the murmurs roaming around about Doue and how good of a player that he is, I am intrigued for what he has to showcase for the Fleet in 2017.