Philadelphia Union midfielder Vincent Nogueira moved to the MLS to escape the goldfish-bowl pressure of playing for his local club in France, Nogueira told L'Equipe.
"It's a choice that goes beyond sport, almost philosophical. Sochaux gave me a comfortable future, and this life is the one I wanted. I can't complain. But sometimes I get the impression I missed out on something," Nogueira, who has scored once in four MLS outings, explained.
Born in nearby Besancon, Nogueira, 26, joined Ligue 1 outfit Sochaux as a teenager in 2003 and progressed from the club's youth academy to become a first-team regular, even making 15 top-flight appearances in the first half of the current campaign.
However, Nogueira surprisingly joined Philadelphia Union in early February, and explained the weight of expectation and of representing his local area was becoming too much for him.
"It was getting difficult to enjoy things. Each year, for seven years, I had had the impression of giving everything. There comes a time when you feel you have nothing left to give, even if there were happy times. If I had had no concern about the result, it would have been different, but it was my region, I represented it every week. There was a kind of guilt, in fact. Sometimes I tried to tell myself that it was only football, that it wasn't serious, but that's not me. I wanted to get away from that kind of pressure."
He added: "Staying in France with a better club or in Europe, it would have been the same thing. In line with my thinking, I would have had to stop, but it's very difficult to come back after a year off."
Though content with life in Pennsylvania, Nogueira did not rule out another change of direction, perhaps even in the coming weeks.
"The USA is the life I wanted to try. It won't last a thousand years. Perhaps in two or three months I'll say that I'm coming back. I don't want to look too far ahead. I'm enjoying myself. Perhaps I'll go to an exotic league, perhaps I'll retire...But now, I have made the choice of liberty."