• Tim Mansel

    This has happened in Turkey. Several footballers who have represented the Turkish national team in recent years were either born or grew up in Germany – home, of course, to a very large ethnic Turkish community. One the other hand, one of Germany’s best players currently is Mesut Özil, born in Germany of Turkish parents. He was offered the chance of playing for the Turkish national team but turned them down in the hope Germany would offer him the same chance. The two countries played each other in Berlin in 2010 in a qualifier for this summer’s upcoming European Championships. Germany won 3-0. Guess who scored their second goal.

    • Nick_Nehamas

      yes, good point Tim. plus Turkey have an Englishman on their team, Colin Kazim-Richards.

      Klinsmann and his successor Joachim Low have also overseen something of a revolution in Germany’s traditionally blue-eyed, blond-haired squad: since 2006, by my count, Germany has capped players of Polish, Spanish, Brazilian, Turkish, Ghanaian, Tunisian and Nigerian descent. I’m sure I’m missing a few.

  • Xboxmaniac12345

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. This was an experimental Italian side which Prandelli was using to see which guys may make a late entrance into his Euro 2012 team. On the basis of history alone, this is a monumental achievement for US football but it by no means implies that they were the better side. Italy put it on them for the first 45 and most of the second.

  • Tim Mansel

    Those of us who were around in the 1980s will also remember Tom Dooley, who played for 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the Bundesliga. He was born in Germany of mixed US-German parentage – Dad was in the US Army – and took US citizenship in 1992 so as to be able to play for the US in the 1994 World Cup.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hugh1234 Hugh Gavin Wynne

    The US always plays better soccer when they try to play like the germans. We’re the team of WR turned fullback oguchi, the defensive-minded reyna and alexi lalas. If we’re not playing overly defensively we’re doing something wrong. It’s also due to the fact you’re 10x as likelky to find a tall lumbering soccer player as an agile intelligent passer. The fact that we’re getting some german players who have touch and skill and aren’t dempsey or donovan means that in addition to our nasty/german-inspired defense, we’re gonna start getting the goal scorers that only began to break out in germany in the early 90s with players like klinsmann and bierhoff.

  • Nevin Vangala

    Great article. The issue of dual citizens and USMNT soccer goes back a long ways. If you look at the pioneer teams from the late 80s and early 90s, those teams are full of guys like these: Hugo perez, thomas dooley (former captain), Earnie Stewart, etc. I think the list goes on. As a country of immigrants, the strength of US soccer will continue to have players like this, as well as children of immigrants (claudio Reyna, Tab Ramos, etc.) I think if you compare this team to the teams over the past 20 years, we are starting to have much more American, home grown talent, especially with the emergence of the MLS youth development systems. Although Klinsmann has made a point to target Latin and European dual citizens, I think the recent successes and future successes of the national team will be more closely tied to the nurturing of Academy talents like Agudelo, Brek Shea, etc. as opposed to the rare dual citizen that makes the switch

    • Nevin Vangala

      I think it would be smart to keep an eye on the u-23 (they just handily beat the Mexican U23s), and see how well they do at the olympics. This will be a good marker for the future of the USMNT and the direction it is heading in the future..

      • Nayo1

        Not anymore I guess 🙂

  • Tim Mansel

    The master of the art of finding players abroad has to be Jack Charlton, who ran the Irish team for ten years from the mid-1980s and took them to the World Cup for the first time. He made full use of what they call the Granny Rule – that if a parent or a grandparent is an Irish citizen, then you too can be an Irish citizen. Charlton trawled English clubs for footballers with an Irish connection and came up with people like Ray Houghton, John Aldridge, Andy Townsend, Mick McCarthy… the list is a long one. Apparently the last all-Irish-born team to represent the Republic of Ireland took the field way back in 1975.

    And anyone remember Joe (Joey) Lapira? Afraid I don’t. Born in New York and grew up in Louisiana, with Maltese forbears on his father’s side and an Irish mother. Played once for the Republic of Ireland – against Ecuador – in 2007. He now plays in obscurity in Norway.

    • Nick_Nehamas

      apparently Lapira (who coincidentally played for the Fighting IRISH of Notre Dame) was America’s top college soccer player in 2006. And now he plays in the Norwegian second division. Guess that says a lot about the state of college soccer in the US.

      http://www.und.com/sports/m-soccer/spec-rel/120206aac.html