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AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Jóhannsson picks USA over Iceland

Jul 29, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT

Aron Johannsson Aron Johannsson

The depth of Jurgen Klinsmann’s US national team squad was already pretty incredible.

Now its just got even stronger.

This morning AZ Alkmaar’s promising attacker Aron Jóhannsson has released a statement, in which he declares his intent to represent the USA.

Jóhannsson holds dual-citizenship, and the Icelandic FA were very keen to have him on board.

But it seems as though Jozy Altidore’s former strike-partner at AZ has picked the US.

Jóhannsson’s comments, which were posed on his Facebook page, leave little doubt that the striker born in Mobile, Alabama will now switch his allegiance to the Star and Stripes.

I have decided to make myself eligible for the USA national football team. I was fortunate in that I could choose between playing for Iceland or the USA since I have dual citizenship. It was neither an easy nor hasty decision, because I was faced with two good national teams. I thank the coaches of Iceland for their interest in me and wish the Iceland national team all the best in the future.

Jóhannsson, 22, has played for Iceland’s under-21 side 10 times, scoring once but he is now able to switch to the USA after not competing in a full international for Iceland. After joining AZ last January, Jóhannsson scored three goals in five games and will be looking to lead the line for the Dutch side this season following Altidore’s departure to Sunderland.

So, after Gold Cup success and Klinsmann having all kinds of selection headaches ahead of the World Cup qualifiers and beyond, do the US really need Jóhannsson?

Yes.

Ask Altidore how good this kid really is… somebody already did? Well, here it is from Jason Davis back in April.

“I think he’s definitely open to playing for the U.S. I don’t think he’s 100% made up his mind. I think he’s leaning more towards Iceland at this point,” Altidore said. “I think the opportunity of going to a World Cup pleases him a lot. We’ll have to see. He’s a really good player, a player I expect to see a lot of good things from.”

And here is Altidore’s reaction to Jóhannsson’s decision this morning.

So only a few months ago Jóhannsson was opting towards Iceland, but now after the USA’s clinical Gold Cup dominance, maybe Jóhannsson believes he must commit his future to the US now if he is going to have any chance of making the World Cup squad next summer.

It’s a big ask. But the Icelandic-American striker born in Alabama certainly has time on his side. Klinsmann will give him a chance to impress, and that will likely be in the USA’s friendly with Bosnia on August 14 in Sarajevo.

Now it’s up to Aron.

  1. dfstell - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    It’s nice to see guys picking us. I guess it remains to be seen if we “need” him, but it never hurts to have more players in the pool and it isn’t like the options after Jozy are THAT appealing. At the very least, this depth means that all of those players have to push and play well to maintain their position.

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      I agree with you on this one.

      After Jozy, is there really one player ahead of the pack? There isn’t too much between Wondo and EJ, as we saw at the Gold Cup.

      As soon as qualification to Brazil 2014 is secured, Klinsmann needs to try all these fringe payers to see who can cut it against the better teams in CONCACAF and European nations in friendlies.

      No disrespect to Belize or Cuba, but we found little out about the USA in those contests.

    • ethancrowley - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      I think we do need him— he’s only 22. EJ is pushing 30, and lets not talk about Alan Gordon or Wondo. They’re ancient history.

      WC 2018 will see him hitting his prime.

      • merseysideoc - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        Agreed, we definitely could use another striker the caliber of Aron. I don’t believe it’s too farfetched to consider him for the Nats. We’ll have to see how he does vs Bosnia.

        Wondo & Gordon have their uses…only vs CONCACAF opposition though. Anything beyond that & they’re simply outclassed. In Wondo’s case, scoring hat-tricks against minnows does not an international caliber player make.

        EJ’s got a decent shot at making the 2014 squad as an impact sub. While his prior international stint was a bust, he still possesses that knowledge of the international game & can use that to his advantage. However, this is definitely his last shot at making at WC squad considering his age.

  2. danielofthedale - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    First John Anthony Brooks accepts a call up for the Bosnia friendly and now Aron making the full switch! It’s amazing what an 11 game winning streak can do to help Chang some perceptions. This move might not make a difference in Brazil but come Russia they could be massive.

  3. drewvt6 - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    head over to his FB page and thank him: https://www.facebook.com/aronjohannss

  4. hildezero - Jul 30, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Lol. The Iceland FA must be pissed right now! I know some of their fans are. Lol.

    • merseysideoc - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      @hildezero, I’d imagine the supporters & Iceland FA are beyond pissed. It’s really no different than the ire expressed by US supporters when Subotic & Rossi switched over to Serbia & Italy. Ironic though, we’ll take any dual citizen when it comes to improving our national side, but when the player opts to play for another country, they’re crucified for it.

      Understandably, Rossi wanted to play for a world class side in Italy. Subotic was a different story in that Thomas (W)Rongen single-handedly destroyed any chance of Nevin ever featuring for the US by telling him he’d never make it internationally. My how the tide turned…Subotic is a highly-rated defender in Germany, if not Europe & Rongen took the helm of American Samoa for a time. Tell me who got the better deal.

  5. hildezero - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    @mereysideoc

    I actually remember when Subotic was featured in a FIFA Soccer game as a American and I remember saying, “who the f*ck is Subotic and why he hasn’t been called up to the national team?!”. Then the next game his nationality was, Serbia. Rossi is a better player, though.

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