After news that 18-year-old D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar chose to commit to play for Honduras rather than for the U.S. -- choosing the country of his birth over the land he's called home since he was 13 -- Scott French spoke to former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena. During Arena's tenure, New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi opted to play for Italy despite having lived in New Jersey until he moved to Italy, to join Parma's youth program, at age 12. Rossi currently stars for Italy and Spanish club Villarreal.
Some U.S. fans have applied the "traitor" epithet to Rossi. Arena says that's "foolish."
"If you're holding two passports, you have a choice. You have a privilege," he said. "That's like saying Andy Najar's a traitor. ... Or Thomas Dooley or David Regis [a French-born defender married to an American who played for the U.S. in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups]. Half the U.S. team now, a bunch of guys who don't even speak English.
"For me personally, I'm opposed to that stuff, but that's me. Rossi's a different situation. He's an American. He's an American, not an Italian. For me, hopping around the world and trying to find a player that has a parent [from the] U.S. military, which happens to be the case nine times out of 10, I think that's against the spirit of everything. But whatever."