Thanks to FIFA’s rules and the poaching of players nations such as France and Mexico have engaged in lately, more focus and emphasis than ever has been placed on players eligible to play for more than one nation recently. Obviously the United States has previously depended on naturalized players like Earnie Stewart, Tom Dooley, Hugo Perez and even the forgotten Brian Quinn and David Regis, but recently the US has become more defensive in stopping other nations from poaching players developed here at home.
Giuseppe Rossi, Edgar Castillio and Nevan Subotic are the representatives of a worrying trend in domestic football. Players whose youth careers were spent entirely in the United States but choose to play for another national team. Subotic’s case is even more offensive quite frankly since he played for the US Youth National Teams and attended the US Soccer National Academy in Bradenton Florida.
Bob Bradley unlike his predecessor who seemed unaware of the international game of poaching has taken several steps, be they proactive or simply cynical to keep a number of talented American players from suiting up for a rival national team. In many cases once Bradley capped the player in question they were relegated to the depth of the US player pool.
Was eligible to play for Ireland. Parkhurst caught the attention of them Irish manager Steve Staunton whose side was struggling in Euro 08 qualifying. When it appeared Parkhurst may be called into the Irish side, Bradley called the defender in for the 2007 Gold Cup, and has largely ignored him since, even though it can be strongly argued Parkhurst is among the best current American defenders.
Previously eligible for Poland, Szetela a close friend growing up of Rossi it has been reported would have entertained an offer from the Poles. But Bradley wisely took advantage of Szetela’s fine U-20 World Cup in 2007, called him in for a few Fall 2007 friendlies and has ignored him since.
Findley was eligible to play for Trinidad and Tobago. The RSL attacker, was convinced to play for the U.S. and then called in for one friendly in 2007 against Switzerland. He has not been called back up since.
Previously eligible to play for England. While Cooper’s chances of ever being called into the England squad were less than remote, it’s still curious that Bradley called him in for three of his first four matches in charge yet has inexplicably called in strikers with less quality consistently since then.
It’s been argued Orozco falls in the same category as the others but from what I can gather, he never seriously considered playing for Mexico.
Jose Francisco Torres
The exception to the trend. What appeared to be a cynical move by Bradley in Fall 2008, has proven otherwise. Torres is now a regular call up for all big US matches, and unlike the top three names on this list is actually featuring more the US than he would have for the other nation seeking his services.
Give Bradley credit. Cynical or not, it shows the US will fight for the services of players considered of an international standard. Bruce Arena allowed Castillio and Rossi to slip through his fingers without a fight. The current US Manager on the other hand is aware of what players are eligible to play for the United States and other nations and is fighting to keep his fair share of these footballers.