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FIFA gives Johannsson green light
August 13th, 2013 4:49PM
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TAGS:  men's national team


[USA MEN] FIFA approved 22-year-old striker Aron Johannsson's petition to switch national teams, making him eligible to play for the U.S. national team, beginning with Wednesday's game against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium in Sarajevo.

Johannsson formerly represented Iceland competitively at the U-21 level, requiring FIFA approval for the switch. Having been born in Alabama to Icelandic parents, Johannsson met the primary requirement for switching: he was eligible to play the USA when he first played for Iceland. (FIFA's dual nationality rules all but rule out players switching federations based on gaining citizenship via marriage.)

"I'm super happy," said Johannsson. "When I came here, I didn't expect that I was going to be eligible to play. The coach told me right after training that the approval came through. I'm very excited."

Johannsson burst on the season last season at Danish club AGF, for which he scored 14 goals in 18 games. He moved in January to Dutch club AZ, where he has replaced Jozy Altidore as its No. 1 striker.

"We are obviously very thrilled for Aron," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement. "It's an exciting time for him. He's done a great job in these couple days getting to know the guys. Hopefully, if the game goes well tomorrow night, there will be a chance for him to make his debut with the U.S. national team."

When Johannsson announced his decision to switch, the Icelandic federation protested vehemently, urging him to reconsider his decision. It noted he had played 10 international matches for Iceland's U-21s in 2011 and 2012 -- eight of them in UEFA competitions -- and the only thing that kept him from playing for the national team was injuries -- just the USA's good fortune.

It added that Johannsson had "no link to soccer in the USA at all" and that he was being tempted by money, "that his income potential, as a USA player, is much greater, both in the form of grants and sponsorship, than if he were an Iceland player."

The Icelandic federation lamented, "It is simply so that an Iceland national team member must play for land and country and for that they get honor and glory."

  1. Robert Heinrich
    commented on: August 13, 2013 at 7:45 p.m.
    Iceland, I feel your pain. Does the name Giuseppe Rossi ring a bell?
  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: August 14, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.
    Iceland: 1. Aaron was born in Alabama so he is American, He can run for President. Arnie cannot 2. He is more American then all those Germans with just American soldier fathers. 3.Of course he is doing it for the money. What could be more American? What other proof do you need he is American?
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: August 14, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
    Before passing any judgement on this 22 year old (Mark #3), maybe we could wait to hear his reasonings from his own lips. There might be more out there published I don't know of. Just saying. Regarding Iceland's contention of playing for "honor and glory", I think the USA might have a little of that to offer him ourselves.....

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