Philadelphian to Watch: June 2006

Who: Bobby Convey, a 23-year-old midfielder who was once the Great White Hope of American soccer, before 16-year-old Freddy Adu arrived on the scene.

Why: Convey was raised in the Northeast and wore a Penn Charter jersey before turning pro at 16. This year, he played a key role in getting his Reading FC promoted into the top-flight English Premier League.

Why now: Convey is expected to be a major force for the U.S. team — now ranked fourth in the world — when it kicks off its World Cup run on June 12th against the Czech Republic.

Why he matters, in culturally grandiose terms: Because Convey, a middle-class white-ethnic kid from a big Northern city, is a demographic throwback to earlier generations of American soccer, which is increasingly dominated by talent from the country’s Sun Belt exurbs.