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Former Leeds United striker Mike Grella discusses his struggle in English football and nearly retiring

The forward has now found form in MLS with the New York Red Bulls.

During his three years at Leeds United striker Mike Grella never really amassed a reputation as a potent goalscorer. The American, who joined in 2009 from Carolina RailHawks, only ever scored one league goal for Leeds, although had better luck in the cup competitions, scoring four times in the FA Cup and League Cup in 11 appearances. Overall he netted just five goals in 42 appearances for Leeds.

Eventually he left Leeds and went to have a disappointing stint with Brentford, a goalscoring frolic with Bury and one disappointing season with Scunthorpe United before leaving English football.

After time in Denmark with Viborg he headed back to America, playing in the NASL, before getting a move to MLS in February. He joined the New York Red Bulls and has so far looked a hit with his new club.

He has scored eight times in 29 appearances for the club but his overall performances have been superb, despite a modest goalscoring record.

This week he has been speaking to the New York Daily News about his time at Red Bull Arena, and how things never quite worked out in English football. He stated:

“It’s been a crazy turnaround for my family and I, because I didn’t expect to be playing soccer much longer. I’m enjoying my life in every area.

“It was a lot easier to say I was going to move on, then to actually do it.

“It was hard for me to get a run of games (in England). (The experience) was difficult for a lot of reasons. It was hard for me being a kid over there on my own. I’m very family oriented.

“I didn’t think I’d get this chance again. It’s been really fantastic.”

Grella may not have cut it at Leeds but there is no doubt that he is thriving in a more comfortable environment. A return to English football would seem highly unlikely considering his current happiness in New York. Hopefully he can continue to succeed both on and off the pitch in his current location.

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