[U.S. SOCCER] Because citizenship dictates eligibility, national teams can field players who didn’t grow up in their countries. Jermaine Jones, 28, was born and raised in Germany, where he’s played pro ball for a decade. A U.S. citizen thanks to an American father, Jones played his first two games for the USA this week. He could join a small group of players who, since the USA's return to World Cup play in 1990, grew up abroad but represented the U.S. national team at a World Cup – including one who wore the captain's band.
(Not included in the list are players who immigrated to the USA as minors.)
THOMAS DOOLEY. Like Jones, Dooley is the son of an American serviceman who was stationed in Germany and a German mother. Jones lived briefly in the USA at a very young age before moving back to Germany with his mother. Dooley had never stepped on U.S. soil until age 30.
Dooley would earn 81 caps for the USA and is the only player who started all U.S. games at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He captained the 1998 team and was inducted into the U.S. Soccer National Hall of Fame in August.
When Dooley was 1 year old, his father left the family for America with the promise that he'd send for them after he found a place to live, but they never heard from him.
Dooley earned a pro contract with FC Homburg at age 22 before moving to Kaiserslautern, which he helped win the 1990 league championship and 1991 cup title.
Jennifer Hemmer, who worked for U.S. Soccer's marketing arm, was in Germany in 1991 and noticed Dooley's American surname while attending a Kaiserslautern game. She put in motion U.S. Soccer’s pursuit of Dooley, who embraced the chance to represent the USA.
Dooley finished his career in MLS with the Columbus Crew and the MetroStars. He resides in Southern California.
EARNIE STEWART.The scorer of the USA’s game-winning goal against Colombia that assured the host team of passage to the second round of the 1994 World Cup, Stewart played all of his soccer in the Netherlands before joining D.C. United in 2003.
Stewart was born in Veghal, Netherlands, to an American father who served in the U.S. Air Force, and a Dutch mother. He debuted for the USA in 1990.
While playing Dutch pro soccer with Willem II and NAC, Stewart played in three World Cups for the USA. He started all four games in 1994, played in all three games in 1998, and started twice and came off the bench twice in the USA’s run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Stewart ended up with 17 goals and 10 assists in 101 appearances for the USA. After 14 seasons in the Dutch league, he played two seasons for D.C. United and won the 2004 MLS Cup.
Stewart is the technical director of Dutch Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar.
DAVID REGIS.The Frenchman who was born in Martinique got his U.S. citizenship on the eve of the 1998 World Cup, at which he started all three games at left back at age 29. He was eligible for U.S. citizenship because of his American wife.
At age 10, Regis moved to France from the Caribbean island that is an overseas department. He made his pro debut in the French league at age 19 in 1988. In 1997, he moved from his third French club, Lens, to Germany’s Karlsruhe, a club near the French border.
Steve Sampson, the 1998 World Cup coach, discovered Regis and his potential to play for the USA during a visit to Europe in 1997.
Regis’ playing time at the 1998 World Cup, where the USA lost all of its three games, came in place of Jeff Agoos, who had helped Regis prepare for his citizenship exam when they roomed together during World Cup warmup games.
Regis was a member of Coach Bruce Arena’s 2002 World Cup squad but didn’t get playing time. He never resided in the USA and finished his U.S. career with 27 caps.
ROY WEGERLE. While starring for England’s Queens Park Rangers in the early 1990s, the smooth attacker was deciding between five national teams he could represent: South Africa (birth), England (residency), Germany (grandfather), Scotland (mother) and the USA.
Wegerle had followed his brothers Steve and Geoff, who played in the NASL, to the USA and played for the University of Southern Florida. He played for the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies and indoor ball for Tacoma Stars before launching his England career at Chelsea.
But Wegerle’s eligibility for the USA came thanks to his American wife, and at the 1994 World Cup he came on as a sub in all four U.S. games. He played two games at the 1998 World Cup.
Wegerle left England in 1996 when MLS launched and played for the Colorado Rapids and the Tampa Mutiny. He and Mexican striker Hugo Sanchez are the only two players to have played in the NASL and MLS.
FERNANDO CLAVIJO. The Uruguayan-born defender came to the USA at age 23 and spent most of the next decade in indoor soccer. He played two seasons of NASL ball for the Golden Bay Earthquakes in 1983-84.
Clavijo became a U.S. citizen in 1987 and debuted for the USA in 1990. At the 1994 World Cup, Clavijo played three games, starting in the 2-1 win over Colombia.
Clavijo, who resides in Florida and is Director of Soccer for Traffic Sports/Miami FC, earned 61 U.S. caps. He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 2005.
PREKI RADOSAVLJEVIC. Born in Belgrade, Preki came to the USA in 1985 at age 22 to play for the indoor Tacoma Stars.
Preki became one of the all-time leading scorers in American indoor soccer. He had two stints in England, with Everton and Portsmouth, before joining MLS in its inaugural season in 1996, the same year he acquired U.S. citzenship.
Sampson brought Preki into his squad during qualifying for the 1998 World Cup and Preki scored twice. He also famously scored in the USA’s only win over Brazil, a 1-0 victory in the 1998 Gold Cup.
Preki played two games, as a sub, at the 1998 World Cup. He finished his U.S. career with 28 caps and seven goals.
After 10 seasons in MLS, which included league MVP honors in 1997 and 2003, Preki coached Chivas USA in 2007-2009. He was fired as Toronto FC head coach in September. He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame along with Dooley in August.
CARLOS LLAMOSA.Born in Colombia, where he played third division ball, Llamosa came to New York with his family at age 22 in 1991. He worked as a janitor at the World Trade Center and was on duty during the 1993 terrorist attack, returning from his lunch break to find his company's basement office had been destroyed.
Llamosa started playing for the A-League’s New York Centaurs in 1995 and earned all-league honors in 1996. The defender joined D.C. United in the 1997 supplemental draft and enjoyed an 11-year career in MLS that included a league titles in 1997 and 1999.
He became a U.S. citizen in 1998 and earned his first of 29 caps that year. He came off the bench twice at the 2002 World Cup for a total of 12 minutes of action.
Llamosa is now assistant coach at Chivas USA.