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Bruce Arena: “Players on the national team should be American.”

Mar 14, 2013, 5:27 PM EDT

Bruce Arena is never one to hold his tongue. And he’ll certainly get plenty of criticism for his latest quote. According to a tweet, he’s quoted in an upcoming issue of ESPN the Magazine saying “Players on the nat’l team should be American. If they’re born in other countries, we aren’t making progress.”

First, this is a single quote — almost certainly one of the more inflammatory ones — from what is undoubtedly a larger story. So take it with a grain of salt. And let’s get beyond any controversy and just ask a question: Does Arena have a point?

I can see the argument he’s making, but I don’t agree. There will always be players around the world who can play for the U.S., who feel a connection to the U.S., but who weren’t born in the US of A. Take Terrence Boyd. Despite being born in Bremen, that dude loves America more than most. He lives and dies to play for the U.S. Are we supposed to exclude him simply because he hails from Germany? I don’t think so.

There is, however, a line where a coach takes it too far. Is Arena’s comment directed at Jurgen Klinsmann, who seems desperate to recruit as many German-Americans as he can? I wonder…

While the former national team manager goes overboard, there’s a bit of truth buried somewhere in Arena’s statement. The rest of the article might bring it back into focus.

Still, it’s pretty easy to throw stones from the comfy seat of the LA Galaxy coach’s couch. Let’s not forget:

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