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My take on Giuseppe Rossi's decision to play for Italy instead of the United States

Good evening folks. I’m coming to you from my seat on a plane in Ft. Lauderdale bound for Newark, New Jersey. We’re a few minutes from takeoff and I wanted to add one more post. Apologies for not posting more today but it was just a hectic day getting ready for the return home. I will be back posting late tonight so stay tuned.

I will be posting my MLS Combine Day Three observations late tonight or in the morning, as well as a new MLS Mock Draft (Version 2.0).

For now, here is my column on Giuseppe Rossi’s decision to play for Italy rather than the United States. For those of you were unaware, Rossi will turn 21 on Feb. 1, at which point he will no longer have the option to play for the United States and will be cap-tied to Italy. Any hopes of Rossi changing his mind about playing for Italy look dead and the U.S. national team must move on without him.

Take a look at the column and let me know what you think of Rossi’s decision as well as my take on it. Share your thoughts below.

83 comments
  • Phillip

    sg,

    you don’t see any “vieira’s a traitor” comments because… well… this is mainly a USA blog… not a Senegalese blog… we need some Senegalese people here to make that argument

    Like

  • Elliott

    Matt,

    No one is saying he should be playing in MLS instead of Serie A. This is a national team thing, not a club thing.

    Secondly, no one can beat Mexico 8-0.

    Personally, I’m happy with the decision if Rossi is happy with the decision. He has dual citizenship. He isn’t doing anything hundreds of players haven’t done before him.

    Like

  • Nick

    It’s tough to swallow but if he wants to play for Italy, so be it… What better revenge than to face him and his Italian brothers in a crucial World Cup game and come away with victory. Now that, my friend, would be some mighty tasty “humble” pie.

    Like

  • Phillip

    Yeah, like others have said though, you shouldn’t begrudge a guy for choosing to play for the country that his entire family is from.

    We’ve got who we’ve got, and we can go on from here.

    Like

  • Matt Mathai

    Nice story.

    The moment Rossi said he wasn’t interested in playing for the US, I lost all interest in him.

    I hope he does well, but, to be honest, I don’t really care either way.

    Don’t mean to sound cold, but there it is…

    Like

  • Daniel

    Honestly Ives. Good ridence to bad rubbish. We have better players coming thru the ranks than that kid.

    Like

  • twakum

    Don’t know if it will be Rossi watching Altidore score in the WC…not from the field at least. More likely Rossi watching it from home while Altidore scores…he needs to get into a good team in serie A.

    Like

  • Sandro

    Hey if that is his decision that is fine. No illwill to the guy. Would have been nice to have him play for the US, but hey if those are his dreams then just wish him the very best.

    I think now we need to move on too and just keep looking for the best players for the USMNT.

    Like

  • Paul Lorinczi

    Well…if I had pursued a professional career back in the 80s when I was playing and had been good enough..I would have played for Hungary over the US.

    So the argument you make about US underachievment is a valid one in my eyes.

    Like

  • Joe D.

    Someone mentioned Chinaglia getting a minuscule amount of caps, but there are better examples of excellent Italian players getting snubbed from the Italian National Team. How about Giuseppe Signori, who was the leading goal scorer in Serie A THREE separate times (’93, ’94, ’96) and one of the leading goal scorers in Serie A history, only had 28 caps for Italy in his career!

    So yes, it is a good possibility that Rossi’s Italian National Team career might be short-lived if it ever even occurs.

    Like

  • Evan

    We tend to be too one-sided in the USA. We have no problem using up foreign born talent in our national team but, when the opposite occurs, we hear all these insinuations of near treason.

    It seems that it hurts our national pride when someone, in any arena, chooses another country over the US. It may be because we’re supposed to be “the best country in the world”…

    Like

  • jaythehistorian

    Rossi (born in NJ)and his parents obviously benefited from residing in the US. His mother continues to live in New Jersey and enjoy the fruits of the richest country in the world. Unlike most other posters, I don’t wish Rossi well in his career. His family came to our country ,milked it, and continue to milk it. I think it shows contempt towards the US that, despite the begging of Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley, and others, Rossi figuratively spit in our eye. It’s not as if he can be replaced. The US doesn’t have anyone with his proven goal-scoring prowess. Italy’s performance in tournaments is unlikely to improve with Rossi on their team,while the US IMHO, could possibly win a world cup game with a scorer like Rossi, they might not otherwise win. Altadore is unproven at the senior level. When he scores as consistently as Rossi in one of the top European leagues then he can be counted on in important tournaments. Other than Dempsey, there is no one who is remotely as capable as a goal scorer as Rossi. This is not comparable to Owen Hargraves’ situation. He made his decision based on the high probability Canada will not qualify for the world cup in the foreseeable future. Rossi however,knows the US is almost assured of qualifying for every world cup held during his playing career.

    Like

  • doug

    this is ridiculous. Most of these posts sound like teenage girls, mad at some dude they had a crush on, because he ended up dating the hottest girl in school and not them.

    Like

  • RYC

    Is he really even cap tied till he plays (or is included in the squad) for Italy in a competitve (non-friendly match) after turning 21?

    Like

  • Dave

    You could look at this one way, this could be a way to get American fans to root for the mens soccer team, by fans I mean the ones who are relatively indifferent about the soccer. Create an Enemy that we can rally around.

    Like

  • CommonSense

    I have to agree w/ jaythehistorian. It’s not like this kid moved to the US at age 10 and just lived here a few years. He’s never freaking lived in Italy for anything but soccer.

    He IS a mercenary. Do you think he moves to Italy if he’s not a great soccer player? HELL no. His parents came to this country, because quite frankly, Italy is one of the most pathetic European economies (and governments). They took the chances they had here, to raise their son in a better environment.

    Rossi is a traitor merc, point blank period.

    and he’ll play very sparingly for Italy. Their strategy every WC is just to dive their way to enough FKs that their talented, tall forwards can head some goals home off set-pieces. Rossi will have to be serve as a link between the mids and forwards, as I don’t see such a short forward starting for Italy often, especially with the Italian-born talent he’s up against.

    Not only did he betray the country that provided he and his parents a better life, he’s stupid. It’s not like the US is freaking Canada or Scotland, we qualify every time, and our up-coming talent pool gives us a very good chance of going deep into the tournament in 2010 and 2014.

    Like

  • Simona

    Ives
    Fantastic article! It just wasn’t meant to be and sometimes us fans might feel bitter about it, but it’s going to be alright. I personally never was that attached to Rossi although it did annoy me that he didn’t want to play for the US or maybe it’s just how the fans went after him. He would have been great for the NT. In the end best of luck to the USMNT and I hope Rossi does well in his future.

    Like

  • Joe D.

    “and he’ll play very sparingly for Italy. Their strategy every WC is just to dive their way to enough FKs that their talented, tall forwards can head some goals home off set-pieces. Rossi will have to be serve as a link between the mids and forwards, as I don’t see such a short forward starting for Italy often, especially with the Italian-born talent he’s up against.”

    Hey, CommonSense, quit commenting on shit you know nothing about!

    I take it you have not watched Italy much? When the hell did Italy have a plethora of tall forwards that you are talking about? Even now they only really have one (Luca Toni), and then he is supported by one or two smaller forwards. Then you claim that these small forwards/midfielders would never start on the Italian National Team. I guess that is true if you ignore all the ones that have: Del Piero (5’8″), Di Natale (5’6″), Roberto Baggio (5’8″), Totti (5’11”), Zola (5’5″), Salvatore Schillaci (5’8″), and Paolo Rossi (5’9″).

    Like

  • Julio

    You know the saddest or the worst thing about this is….that the Italian National media and team will never endorse him as one of their own because he is not born in Italy. He will always be seing as the American. Italians take pride in having someone being born in the country and have played all their lives in Italy. He will be part of the team I bet, but not a Superstar. Had he played for the US he would have seen as a Superstar and nobody would give a rats @ss if he was Italian.

    Like

  • burninator

    I just want to go on the record: if I ever get a chance to see Rossi play in person, for club or country, he’ll hear it from me. Good for him and his family, his dreams, blah blah blah, thanks for giving back to this wonderful country that you called home for so long, you thankless traitor.

    I cannot and will not be rational, fair, or compassionate about this. I am a rabid soccer fan, and a rabid USMNT fan, and anyone that prevents our possible success deserves nothing less than outright (completely legal, not extreme) verbal/written abuse.

    Isn’t that the way rabid sports fandom is supposed to work? If we can get into his head, we should. It sure worked in SLC in 2005 against Costa Rica…what a game….

    I’m pretty sure that some Ghanaians are frustrated that Adu won’t play for them, and I’m not going to say they don’t have a gripe. I pretty much see this as a non-issue for sane soccer fans, but a very frustrating issue for slightly insane soccer fans like me:-)

    It’s frustrating to live in a country like the USA after getting to know Argentine soccer a little bit. Imagine an Argentine player saying, “Hey, know what? My parents emigrated from Brazil, I want to play for Brazil even though I was born here and played here, even though I may never be capped very much by Brazil while Argentina would play me every game and I could help Argentina out A LOT. Nah, screw Argentina.” He’d have death threats, I think.

    It’s frustrating for him to be able to do this and get away with it, I think, with very little criticism. How would soccer fans in Italy feel if some player that would feature prominently on their national team decided to go to the states and 1) play less, and 2) screw Italy out of his talents?

    As long as Rossi is not hurting the USA any further than he already has, good for him, may he be the best player Italy ever knew. If he ever plays against us, I hope we give him a rowdy welcome, fans and players alike. I, for one, will cheer for every hard red, white, and blue tackle, taunt, and shove that comes his way. He should expect nothing less, and possibly more.

    I need not pay Rossi any attention, but I cannot forget or forgive him as some advocate here. My soccer rabies prevents this:-) GO TO HELL, ROSSI!!!

    –burninator

    BTW, I just read the definition of rabies: interesting symptomatic parallels between soccer fans and infected persons there…😉

    COMMENTS? brn1n8r@yahoo.com:-)

    Like

  • Chg

    Screw Rossi. I hope his Italian NT life is filled with so much disappointment that he one day looks back on this as the worst decision of his professional career.

    Like

  • Stephen

    It could be (gasp!) that he simply doesn’t want to play for the US, ever, regardless of his prospects with Italy. Why fly over from Europe when to consider yourself an American only by accident? Were it not for his Italian heritage, the probability is that he would never have taken up soccer. Were it not for his move to a European academy he may not have developed to the level were he could even consider playing on a national team.

    Like

  • gerito

    I don’t wish him well at all. As far as I’m concerned the Rossi’s are ingrates. As a USA supporter and the son of immigrants, Guiseppe Rossi will be held in my contempt forever. His betrayal will not be forgiven. Disgraceful. Well Guiseppe, apparently the USA is not good enough for you. Why don’t you renounce your American citizenship and passport? Hypocrite! Go to hell!!! Since you feel you are so Italian, then you’ll know what an Italian salute is. I send you one!!! Lei e traditore ed un disonora. Andare all inferno disgrazia.

    Like

  • gerito

    I don’t wish him well at all. As far as I’m concerned the Rossi’s are ingrates. As a USA supporter and the son of immigrants, Guiseppe Rossi will be held in my contempt forever. His betrayal will not be forgiven. Disgraceful. Well Guiseppe, apparently the USA is not good enough for you. Why don’t you renounce your American citizenship and passport? Hypocrite! Go to hell!!! Since you feel you are so Italian, then you’ll know what an Italian salute is. I send you one!!! Lei e traditore ed un disonora. Andare all inferno disgrazia.

    Like

  • HAHAHAHAHA

    Unbelieveable how everyone bashes the kid. Definitly do sound like a bunch of teenage girls. The kid isnt good he is great. and all you haters make me sick. Obviously you guys must think he is good if everyone keeps talking about him. HOW CAN YOU BLAME SOMEONE FOR NOT WANTING TO PLAY FOR USA SOCCER! When the hell have we ever done anything good in the WC.And the MLS is still the biggest joke out of any other league , HAHAHA its amazing how jealous people are. Also his father was my high school soccer coach and he was a scumbag but it doesnt mean the son is that.. goo rossi

    Like

  • tom m.

    who cares about this kid?? we got altidore, bradley, and adu-altidore is america’s face of soccer in the upcoming years. this guy made a dumb decision to play for italia- i doubt we’ll be seeing him anytime soon in big games. go JOZY!

    Like

  • Sal Moreci

    Whats up with all the hate for Rossi? I’m an Italian born immigrant who’s lived in the USA since i was a month old. I love soccer and i love the Italian National team. When i watch soccer i root for Italia and the US, and if they play each other I root for Italy because that’s where im from and that where my ancestors are from. That doesnt mean i hate the USA or have anything against them. Lay off this kid, if he can play for Italy then let it be. And you have to be a hell of a player to play for the Azzurri. FORZA ITALIA!!!!

    Like

  • Sal Moreci

    And why would you wanna play in a country where everyone laughs at soccer? I listen to ESPN Radio and they always make fun of soccer, I have American friends and they think soccer is boring and for fags. So why would anyone wanna play here and be a nobody, when you can play in Europe and be a respected star. Its easy math for me, the US in general doesnt like soccer. Until we promote and grow in this country as soccer fans the USA will never do anything in the WC. And for all you Italian National team bashers, we have 4 World Cups, how does the USA have??

    Like

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