Timmy Chandler’s apparent decision to no longer represent the USA in international play isn't the first time a player has turned down the opportunity to play for the USA.Steve Davisat ProSoccerTalk looks back at the decisions of Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic to turn down a chance to represent the USA.
Rossi was the only one of the three to spend significant time in the United State, growing up in New Jersey. He moved to Italy just before his 13th birthday to pursue his dream of playing pro soccer in Italy. He was called up to a U.S. national team camp before the 2006 World Cup but turned it down in the hope of eventually being picked by Italy. Rossi, who has played for Manchester United, Newcastle United, Parma and Villarreal, later made the Italian national team but he is now injured and has yet to fulfill his dream of playing for the Azzurri in a major championship.
Asked why the USA did not pursue Rossi, then-national team coach Bruce Arena famously replied, “We’re not chasing around 18-year-old players that can’t get games for their club team and tell me they want to play for Italy.”
Neven Subotic represented the USA at a world championship. But after playing for the USA at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, he turned down a chance to play for the USA two years later at the under-20 level, in apparent response to remarks critical of his development by then-U.S. U-20 coach Thomas Rongen.
Subotic hoped to play for Germany, where he has played his entire pro career, but citizenship restrictions forced him to look elsewhere, and he eventually joined the Serbian national team, for which he played at the 2010 World Cup.