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They’re just not that into us: Famous U.S. national team snubs

May 16, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

1. FC Nuernberg v Borussia Moenchengladbach  - Bundesliga Getty Images

Timmy Chandler’s apparent U.S. rejection isn’t the first notorious snub. Probably won’t be the last. Here are the most famous threesome of “No Thanks” to the U.S. national team advances:

1. Giuseppe Rossi: This one will always get closest to the boiling point for most U.S. fans. Because with other high-profile snubs, the player in question grew up beyond our borders, at least in part. So cases can be made that so-and-so truly is more German, Italian, Serbian or whatever.  But not Rossi, who lived in the United States until just before his 13th birthday.

That’s when Rossi (now at Villareal, but injured) moved to Italy, joined Parma’s youth team and began climbing the rungs of stardom – steps that would eventually allow Rossi to fulfill his dream of representing Italy. Never mind that he did not, actually, grow up in Italy. He was born and raised in New Jersey, the son of school teachers here.

Then-U.S. manager Bruce Arena did invite Rossi into the U.S. training camp prior to World Cup 2006. Rossi declined. If that sounds like an unpatriotic slap, it’s fair to point out that Arena slapped back, according to this 2009 New York Times story:

If Rossi was not interested in playing for the United States, the United States was not interested in him, Arena told reporters at the time, saying, “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.” “

So, take that.

2. Neven Subotic: How good would the Borussia Dortmund center back look in a U.S. shirt today? Alas, we’ll never know.

Subotic’s story has many twists and tentacles, and it seems tough to begrudge his choices.

His family fled war-weary Bosnia when he was 18 months old. They settled in Germany but had to leave when he was 11. The family then settled in the United States, where Subotic was spotted and eventually absorbed into the U.S. under-17 national team. He later appeared twice for the U.S. under-20s.

Subotic was eligible to play for the full national team of the United States, Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. How he came to choose Serbia … well, a lot of ingredients go into that particular stew. Some of them on the bitter side, like Thomas Rongen’s biting criticism of the young player, and choices made during the 2007 under-20 World Cup.

Players chosen ahead of Subotic for Rongen’s U.S. side in 2007 included Nathan Sturgis, Anthony Wallace, Julian Valentin, Ofori Sarkodie, Tim Ward and Amaechi Igwe. The range of success tilts toward the lower end (so far, anyway). Suffice to say: None of those names represent the center piece on a brawny defense that just won the German Bundesliga title.

3. Timmy Chandler: The final chapter may have yet been written in the Chandler affair. But it seems that lessons have been learned about how to handle these delicate situations. More to the point, it seems unlikely that U.S. Soccer could have done much more to get Chandler (pictured) on board. This one, by all appearances, is squarely on the player.

But that’s probably OK. Again, the kid grew up in Germany – so it’s hard to crank up too much aggravation over the whole thing.

  1. footballer4ever - May 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    The USSF has recently put too much emphasis in looking outside the borders to fill their roster and these snubs are the result of it. Can we benefit from the dual citizen talent out there? Yes! Do we have to? No!. Keep some grace and dignity and polish the talents we have in this country. If anyone is interested to play for the USA, make them do the first move and not go chasing after players whom are more interested to play for already established nat’l teams. What a narrow minded mentality! They have the chance to be pillars of a US nat’l team and benefit from it. In other words, be a big fish in an ever growing pond, than be the fish just floating in a big ocean in which nothing is guaranteed. I say to “China” with them and let their lack of seriousness or professionalism bite them in the rear in the future in a karmatic way.

  2. arjanroghanchi - May 16, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    People were clamoring for Klinsi, but his decision making hasn’t been any better than BB. The real problem is Sunil Gulati.

    Anyone who thought that Chandler would ever seriously consider playing for the US was fooling themselves. If he earns a transfer from FC Nuremberg this season you can bet he will get a look for Die Mannschaft.

    The whole set up is screwed up, and Klinsi’s plan to go even farther afield for players is just making things worse.

  3. tylerbetts - May 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Say what you will about Rossi (and many will, with plenty of venom), at least he never strung the US around. He was clear from the get-go with “I want to play for Italy, and if I’m not good enough, that’s fine, but I’m not settling for anything less than that dream”. I respect him for that, and hopefully he can rebound from injuries and get back to form.

    Chandler, on the other hand, has participated in friendlies, made statements about his intentions, and generally made it seem like he was going to be a part of the USMNT. And, while the final chapter is yet to be written, if he does end up going with the German National team, that’s going to be a lot worse in my book. I hope for his sake that he’s not jilted at the altar by Germany and that he can be productive with their national team, if that indeed is the direction his career heads. I just wish he hadn’t strung us along in the process.

  4. footballer4ever - May 16, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Chandle or Rossi deserve no respect for how they handled the situation. If the USSF was courting him, be graceful on the offer extended to play for a nat’l team and answer calls. Chandler, well, what csn you say about him to justify his actions? Total lack of respect for other people’s time and investment placed on him. Childish behaviour and one of an unbecoming of a professional footballer in/ out the pitch. Good riddance, “Mr.l Chandler and may you not end up veing the water boy at the German Nat’l team.

  5. seanb20124 - May 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    1998 USMNT had plenty of foreign born talent on it.

  6. tackledummy1505 - May 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    This is why the World Cup is kind of weird. You got guys playing for Nationalities they don’t come from and others who have just recently gained them. I really can’t say much as a US American, because our country is full of foreigners. Nobody other than the Indians really are from here, but the results remain, I feel like if you were born of that nation or your parent was born of that nation than you can go play for them. If not, then I don’t care where you travel or what citizenship you have. The fact is you were born elsewhere. My own opinion, but I still leave the window open just a little bit with the parent being born in a different nationality.

    • tylerbetts - May 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      I think that scope is a little too narrow. Yes, some countries are able to cast a net a bit too far, but country of birth/parent country of birth as the only criteria is simply too narrow. Under that, for instance, Freddy Adu wouldn’t qualify to play for the US.

  7. wustlgrad - May 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I’ll make it easy for you lads. Football is a rubbish sport here in America. As an ex-pat living over here I think I can say that. ESPN only covers matches of high interest or perhaps when a freakish goal is scored. Until Football is as respected as your other sports–it will never be cool to put on a Yank kit! Sorry, lads but it’s true. Even bloody tennis gets more press.

    I’d also go as far to say your “MLS” isn’t helping matters. It’s a joke of a league. And, you have salary caps which further bollocks it’s reputation. Only the has Belen’s from the EPL, SPL, and lower leagues in England come over to play. And, only to get one last wee payday before they hang up their boots. Look at Henry now–He’s bloody fat! Only in America could a fat old French gezzer be considered a star!

    In a country as big and as rich you may wish to go another route if your intention is getting the youth interested in the game. The issue at hand is America isn’t a football culture. It’s baseball, apple pie, “throw-ball(Yank football), hockey, tennis. If you can’t change the culture you might consider ways to change that? Man Citeh threw money at the problem. Sadly, it worked. Perhaps a league with no salary caps, and doesn’t take rubbish old players from other leagues. Also the names must go! The Galaxy? The Crew? The Revolution ? The Burn? I’m sorry but that is just bloody retarded football names isn’t it? It sounds as if my four year old made up those names. FC at the beginning or end of the cities name will suffice. I’d also recommend not going overly Yank on the team themes. Football is a world sport after all. Nobody is going to understand the meaning behind names like “The Crew”. In short STOP naming sides with NBA names or old NASL names. In this supporters opinion you’ll receive more sincere respect. Lastly, beat the world of football at its only bloody game. Throw cash at it in droves. Buy, players like Kaka, Robben, Alves, etc…
    You wanna play real football? Attract real players? Keep your youth interested in their national side? Then stop messing about? You have twice the mon£y we do in the UK. Yet you games is worse than ours in Scotland! Think of all the rubbish leagues that are better? I’ll list them–SPL, Dutch, Mexican, Brazilian, Argentina, French, even the Russian league! At least the Russians are trying though.

    Just my opinions…

    • wthack00 - May 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

      Any person or grop of people who use the term “muppet” as an insult, can’t be taken seriously under any circumstance. By the way, since becoming a ” ex pat”, how long did it take you to buy into using all of the Brit jargon and using an accent? If I were to guess, I would say six weeks??? Hey thanks for the laugh though!

  8. footballer4ever - May 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    @ wustlgrad- your opinion would be respected if only you would have kept yourself objective, well-spoken informed. Fyi, Dallas MLS team is called FC Dallas and it used to be Dallas Burn. Get your facts correct first of all. It’s Eurosnobs attitude who can rub non soccer and soccer fans, like me, in the wrong way. In the end, your “opinion” ended up being nothing but a waste of cyberspace with a lot of noise. (wink)

  9. wustlgrad - May 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    @footballer4ever
    Aye, the truth hurts doesn’t it? Eurosnob? Err, must be some new Yank term. The UK is technically an Island nation and not actually part of the mainland–so I cannot be a “Euro” anything. And, congrats on Dallas changing its name. See, they got smart. That was my initial point. And, I was informed ya daft man. All except for the name change bit. I was spot on in every single point. You Yanks are rubbish at football because your youth rather play other sports. Full stop. Football is not considered “cool” after the age of twelve in the minds of most inner city youth. Where as our poorer kids all play football. As do our wealthy. It’s as much a part of our culture as a pint of bitter is down at the pub. If I’m a “Eurosnob” for speaking truth then you’re a typical fat pompous Yank that cannot play well with others. Or, is it everything is grand as long as you agree with the ugly American? How cliche’
    Cheerio;-)

  10. footballer4ever - May 19, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    @ wustlgrad- the thruth hurts? LoL..how full of it you are when you give out opinions. I was born and bread outside the U.S., lived for quite a significant part of my life in the US and I’m proudly a US citizen who loves football like you do. Your opinion is not respected even if i don’t agree with it. It’s not your opinion, or your thruth, but your in the unnecessary and attitude like views that defines you a snob.
    Learn to get your point across effectively when you speak or talk. (wink)

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