Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Changing colors
by Paul Kennedy, January 27th, 2011 10:55PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  americans abroad, fifa, men's national team, my view, under-20 world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[MY VIEW] National team loyalty isn't what it used to be(*). More and more players are shopping themselves around to find the best situation before deciding which country to represent. Thanks to FIFA's amended eligibility rules, players are, in certain circumstances, changing colors, representing more than one country. It is having profound effects on the U.S. national team programs -- men's and women's -- and those of other countries with large immigrant populations.

The U.S. under-20 national team, which will compete in Concacaf qualifying this winter for a berth in the 2011 world championships in Colombia, is in the process of adding Fabian Huerzeler and Alex Zahavi, who have previously represented Germany and Portugal at the under-17 level.

Several other U.S. U-20 candidates -- notably Omar Salgado, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft -- played for Mexico before trying out with the USA.

On the girls side, Sydney Leroux represented Canada, where she grew up, at the 2004 U-19 World Cup but switched allegiances and joined the USA, which she led to the 2008 U-20 World Cup title.

But the movement goes both ways.

Just recently, Teresa Noyola announced her intention to represent Mexico, which as qualified for the 2011 Women's World Cup, after playing with Leroux for the USA at the 2010 U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany.

The most notable case involves Neven Subotic, a Bosnian immigrant who represented the USA at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, moved to Germany, where efforts to join its national team were rejected because he did not meet eligibility requirements, and ultimately chose to represent Serbia. He plays for runaway Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund and is considered one of the top young players in Europe -- a central defender who would fit very well -- thank you -- into the middle of the U.S. national team's aging backline.

Some players never switch or wait before making a decision about which country to represent.

American fans were hoping that New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi would represent the United States, but he remained loyal to Italy, whose stars he idolized as a child growing up in Jersey and where he moved to at the age of 12 to pursue his soccer dream. He played for the Azzurri at the 2008 Olympics and has since represented the senior national team, ruling out any switch.

Texan Conor Doyle, another candidate for the U.S. U-20 national team, must choose between the USA and Ireland, his father David's birthplace. Conor attended the recent U.S. U-20 camp in Florida but might attend at Irish U-21 camp next month.

The national teams who have benefited the most from the rule changes are African. France won the 2001 Under-17 World Cup, but with their national team careers blocked on the Bleus' senior team, players have gone on to represent Algeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal at the national team level.

It took eight years for Algerian Hassan Yebda to switch national teams, but others are changing teams quicker.

Huerzeler's road to the senior German national team is blocked by a slew of young midfield stars, so the switch from Germany -- whose U-17 team he captained a year ago -- to the USA -- where he was born -- makes sense.

Noyola said style of play had a lot to do with her move to join Mexico, but the fact of the matter is that Mexico, not the USA, gives her her only shot at playing in the 2011 Women's World Cup.

FIFA rules allow players to switch national teams once -- as long as they held dual nationality at the time they represented the first national team in an official competition and they don't play in the same competition for more than one country. The other requirement is that the player have his request approved by FIFA before he switches teams.

That requirement appears to have tripped up El Salvador, which qualified for the 2011 Concacaf U-20 championship thanks to two goals from Dustin Corea in its playoff win over El Salvador. That's the same Dustin Corea who represented the USA in 2009 in Concacaf U-17 qualifying. Corea apparently never petitioned FIFA to play for El Salvador, and Costa Rica is appealing to get El Salvador thrown out of the competition for using an ineligible player.

Article 18 of the FIFA statutes has tripped up much bigger federations.

The English FA publicly pursued Everton's Spanish midfielder Mikael Arteta last summer until it discovered to its embarrassment that he was not eligible to switch national teams since he was not an English citizen at the time he played for Spain at the youth level ...

* Until the early 1960s, it was possible to represent two or more senior national teams. The great Alfredo Di Stefano played for Argentina, Colombia and Spain, while oriundi Raimundo Orsi and Luis Monti played for Argentina in the 1930 World Cup final and won the 1934 World Cup with Italy.



0 comments
  1. clara martin
    commented on: January 28, 2011 at 12:40 a.m.
    Coupon shopping should be serious business to? more people in this economy, new thing is collective buying check for the website "Printapons"
  1. David Huff
    commented on: January 28, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
    Go away Clara, to shopping hell. Lol!
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: January 28, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.
    "It took eight years for Algerian Hassan Yebda to switch national teams, but others are changing teams quicker" I thought the law had passed 2 years ago. So, he couldn't do it earlier even if he tried.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
TV: Fox Sports will air MLS Cup in VR    
For the first time since its launch in 1996, MLS will not air its final on ...
Video Pick: Bundesliga goalkeeper bloopers    
As part of its annual advent calendar series, Bundesliga YouTube presents the Top 10 most "catastrophic" ...
U.S. Abroad: Bob Bradley to critics: 'Hit the road'    
With just one win and five points in seven games as Swansea City's manager, Bob Bradley ...
Soccer in December in Toronto -- who'd have thought?    
It may surprise a lot of people to realize that Seattle is farther north than Toronto. ...
Tab Ramos names U-20 roster for Costa Rica friendlies     
Coach Tab Ramos' 20-player U.S. U-20 national team roster for friendlies at Costa Rica Dec. 17 ...
USL: Roughnecks hire Vaudreuil as head coach    
David Vaudreuil, who started all five playoff games on D.C. United's 1997 MLS championship team, was ...
MLS Expansion: LAFC links up with OC    
LAFC, slated to begin play in MLS in 2018, has reached an agreement with the USL's ...
MLS Moves: 'Caps decline option on captain Morales    
After struggling with injuries the past two seasons, Chilean Pedro Morales has been officially cut loose ...
What They're Saying: Ashtone Morgan    
"It got to a point where it was harder to play at home than away." -- ...
MLS Moves: 'Burrito' is no longer on the RSL menu    
In 2017 at Rio Tinto Stadium the only place to get a burrito will be at ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives