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USA to miss out on another young star?
ESPNsoccernet, July 30th, 2008 4:15PM

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In the wake of New Jersey boy Giuseppe Rossi choosing to play for Italy and New Mexico product Edgar Castillo opting to wear Mexico's colors, the U.S. national team program is now in danger of losing the services of former U.S. U-17 defender Neven Subotic. The 19-year-old was rated the German Second Division's top central defender by Kicker Magazine last season before joining First Division Borussia Dortmund on a $5.4 million transfer.

Subotic "is one of those players whose heritage and nomadic upbringing make him eligible for numerous national teams," explains ESPNsoccernet's Jeff Carlisle. Subotic was discovered by U.S. U-17 coaches John Hackworth and Keith Fulk playing in a Bradenton park and invited to residency camp. He then played for the USA at the 2005 U-17 World Cup.

Subotic was born in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1988 to a Serbian family that immigrated to Germany when he was 2 in 1992 before moving to the USA in 1999. Subotic was brought into the U.S. U-20 national team by Coach Thomas Rongen but was left out of the 2007 U-20 World Cup squad. Rongen says he was omitted because of injury but Subotic was stung by critical comments Rongen made to ESPN.com about his play.

"Well, Rongen certainly said some discouraging and false things about me," said Subotic. "Never in my life have I heard that a high level coach publicly criticizes a player. Professional coaches do that one-on-one with the player. I find this disappointing, because a few months later after Rongen said I was not good enough for the U-20s, I played a very good season and started getting calls from various countries [U.S. included] for the full men's team."

 

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