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Jeff Maurer's Soccer Blog
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
How Do You Say Shadenfreude in Italian
Topic: US National Team

Italy has dropped Giuseppe Rossi. Good. I don't want to see him scoring goals and celebrating in another country's shirt. Maybe this makes me a petty person, but it's the way that I feel.

I don't like Rossi - it was not cool the way he snubbed the US for Italy. Same with Nevin Subotic - I wish only bad things (soccer-wise) for him and Serbia. Here's the thing: if you have lived predominantly in one country, then you should play for that country. Unless - and this is important - UNLESS your home country isn't calling you. Then, play for whoever you want - you can't fault a guy for taking whatever opportunity he's offered to play international soccer.

Let's apply this rule - here's how I feel about each guy who has had this decision recently for the US.

Giuseppe Rossi: not cool. He lived in the US until he was 12 and only moved to Italy for soccer reasons (this makes a difference. If your family moves to a country and that takes you in, then you are more of a citizen of that country than if you're only living in that country to play soccer). The US started calling him very early (in his teens), but he held out for Italy. It's his decision - I guess he feels more Italian than American - but it seems strange to me that a person's identity would hinge more on their genetic makeup than on their community. Personally, I don't feel very German.

Nevin Subotic: not cool. Had he played for Germany (which was his first choice), I would have been fine with that. He lived in Germany for about a decade - roughly the same amount of time he was in the US. But to play for Serbia - where he doesn't speak the language and hasn't lived since he was a baby - is just a finger in the eye to the country who took his family in and brought him through their youth program.

Edgar Castillo: okay (both times). Though he's more American than Mexican (he grew up in New Mexico), it's okay that he first went to play for Mexico: the US wasn't calling him. Like I said: if someone offers a guy a chance, you can't fault him for taking it. And when he switched to the US, that was okay, too: he only switched because Mexico had stopped calling him.

Stuart Holden: okay. Could have gone either way - he was born in Scotland, but moved here for non-soccer reasons when he was about 10. The big difference is this: Scotland wasn't calling him, we were. So he went with the US (and I'm glad that he did).

Jermaine Jones: okay. Clearly feels German, is German, and strongly prefers to play for Germany. But Germany wasn't calling him, so he switched. Jones would be in a different category than Feilhaber, Holden, Adu, and Mastreoni: those guys all moved here for non-soccer reasons, lived here for years, and have strong ties to the US. They are real Americans. Jones - let's be honest - would only be an American for soccer purposes, like Thomas Dooley and David Regis. I'd still like him to play for the team (he's just that good), but I would feel just a little bit guilty having him on the field.

Freddy Adu: okay. Moved at a young age for non-soccer reasons - probably still feels kind of Ghanian, but has stronger ties to the US. Developed through the US youth program and we started calling him very early, hence: American.

Bakary Soumare: okay. Mali called him, we didn't. Hence: Malian.

Jose Francisco Torres: okay. A legitimate dual citizen, but was born here and spent more time in the US. We called him before Mexico did, so that must have made the decision much easier for him.

Shalrie Joseph: definitely okay, but I just have to bring this up while we're on the topic. Took a call for Grenada at a very young age even though he moved to the US during high school. So, in a way: good for him. He stayed true to his roots. Plus he was nowhere near getting called for the US at the time. But, damn it: he would have been a sure-fire starter for the US in 2006 and 2010. I wonder who regrets his decision more: Josephy or Bob Bradley.

Posted by jeffmaurer1980 at 12:36 PM EDT
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