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Forgotten Wanderers #11 - Juergen Sommer

An American goalkeeper of note - or was he?

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It is said that American goalkeepers are so good because they are used to playing ball games with their hands.

Well I don't know if that's true or not, because I've seen Tim Howard drop some right old clangers in his time.

What you may not realise is that Bolton Wanderers, home to American luminaries such as Tim Ream and Stuart Holden, had our very own American goalkeeper once upon a time.

It was only for a very very very very short time, but we had one all the same.

Juergen Petersen Sommer, to give him his full name, was born in New York State in 1969.

Proud owner of a somewhat nomadic career, Sommer made his name at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana where he was something called an "All-American". I don't know what this means.

He was named Collegiate Goalkeeper of the Year in 1990, and this prompted a move to join Luton Town in 1991 where he remained for four seasons, making 82 appearances.

Sommer then moved on to Queens Park Rangers, Luton Town and Torquay United before returning to the States in 1998, joining Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, as a replacement for Liverpool-bound Brad Friedel.

He remained at the club for two seasons before moving again, signing for New England Revolution.

He retired in 2002 following a succession of knee injuries.

Wait, I hear you cry, I thought you said he played for Bolton Wanderers?

Well, show patience, dear reader.

In February 2001 he joined our beloved Wanderers on loan under the supervision of Sam Allardyce in order to solve a goalkeeping crisis ahead of an FA Cup tie against Blackburn Roverrs.

In true heroic style, Sommer was injured after five minutes, but was forced to continue as Wanderers did not have a reserve keeper on the bench. He couldn't run or jump, which was a slight problem, and this injury meant he was unable to keep a clean sheet for the Whites. It was his one and only (brief) appearance for the club. The game actually finished 1-1, with Michael Ricketts cancelling out David Dunn's 40th minute opener.

Ladies and gentlemen - your forgotten Wanderer is Juergen Sommer.