Interviewing Bolton defender Tim Ream 

April, 4, 2012

Tim Ream's young professional career is stuck on fast forward. In the course of two years, he's gone from little-known collegian to MLS rookie star to national team starter to sophomore jinx symbol to a chance at a new life in the English Premier League.

And that's not even counting all he's been through since January.

"It's been a whirlwind," the Bolton Wanderers center back told Insider this week.

Since the New Year, the 24-year-old Ream has gotten married, been transferred from the Red Bulls to Bolton, cancelled a honeymoon in Tahiti, obtained a visa to play in England, jumped right into regular Premiership minutes amid a relegation battle and witnessed teammate Fabrice Muamba experience a near-fatal heart attack on the field and a near-miracle recovery off it.

"A crazy, crazy couple of months," Ream says.

Yet Ream has been able to keep calm and carry on, and in the process put himself back into the center of the back line discussion for the U.S. team.

"I've felt more and more comfortable each week," he says.

"Obviously, my first two games being Chelsea and Man City were kind of an eye opener, basically being thrown into the deep end and being told sink or swim."

More recent games have been bloody relegation scraps against bottom-of-the-standings teams Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton. Bolton has held its own, and for now, pulled itself out of the drop zone. "That's two very different styles that I've already encountered," he says of Wanderers' tactical approach to high powered and lower level foes. "For the most part, I've felt like I've fit in."

Ream has contributed not only defensively; he had a key assist in the win over QPR. But he says he has no idea whether U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has him in his plans for the start of qualifying this summer, and he knows there are no guarantees.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

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