U.S. Men's National Team

Could Subotic be the next to pass on USA?


First there was Giuseppe Rossi. Then there was Edgar Castillo. Could Neven Subotic be the next player eligible for the U.S. national team to pass up the USA for another country?

As I told you a while back, Subotic wasn’t planning to address his future and national team decision until later this year at the earliest. ESPN colleague Jeff Carlisle secured an interview with Subotic and delivered a very interesting story on him and his potential decision, which Subotic says now won’t be made until after the 2008/2009 Bundesliga season.

"Right now, with my move to Dortmund, it looks like I will first make any kind of decision regarding national teams after my first season here," Subotic told ESPN.com. "It’s already tough enough to fight for a starting spot here, and I don’t need any extra baggage at this early point in my career."

That’s the part that is easy to forget about Subotic. He is still just 19 (and won’t be 20 until December). It’s easier to get caught up in the fact that he’s a 6-foot-4 center back who just made a $5.4 million move to German Bundesliga force Borussia Dortmund.

If you read the ESPN.com story you can’t help but feel as if Subotic is waiting to see what comes from his potential eligibility for Germany. As i wrote a few months back, Subotic could wind up gaining eligibility for Germany based on the nine years he spent living in Germany before moving to the United States. You can rest assured that lawyers are working on this case as we speak and the Germany Federation would be foolish not to be working on his behalf to help secure his services.

In fairness to Subotic, you have a player with strong ties to Serbia who also lived in Germany for a longer time than he lived in the United States. It can’t be an easy decision and he must surely appreciate the role the United States played in his development as a player. Consider he has until his 21st birthday to make a final decision, you can’t really blame him if he wants to take his time.

For now we are left with the question. Will Subotic play for the United States? It’s a question that’s been asked for a while now, and it looks like we will have to wait another year to find out.

What do you think about the Subotic situation? What do you think he will do? Share your thoughts below.

  • Haig

    “Lets see, one he can pick serbia, get lots of play time, but most likely never see a WC.”

    Huh? Bob, Serbia (as Serbia and Montenegro, but don’t be fooled: the key players are Serbs and play for Serbia even as Montenegro is allowed to go their own way) won their qualifying group, going UNDEFEATED in a group that had SPAIN and giving up one goal in all of qualifying.

    Did they implode in Germany? Yeah. But your comment about their quality was completely and utterly stupid. I hope Neven opts to play for the US, too, but your idiotic denegration of Serbia’s quality is on par with Rongen for total arrogant ignorance. Wake me up when the US produces a player as good as Dejan Stanković.


  • DeLarge

    He’s trying to play for Germany, it’s obvious. If we were the only “option,” he’d be in Beijing.

    Personally, having been in Germany for some time, and being the son to a German father — I can attest that the way of life is so different in footballing terms, I see no reason why he should be a US player if Germany’s an option to him. His support group is there, his family is there (from what I understand), his friends are there, and maybe even a girlfriend.

    He’ll be wearing the coat of arms over his chest if he’s allowed. We need to move on for our own sake, no matter how painful it might be to picture it. He’s not playing for us.

    Nuff said.


  • freddie footballer

    I say we as fans move on, lower our expectations on this one. Hopefully, the USSF is doing/will do everything it can to get him, but what’s done is done. If he decides on USA, great, but I’m willing to bet he doesn’t. He wants to give that Germany passport situation time to resolve itself. Only if it falls through, then will he consider between Serbia and USA.


  • brett

    4now – i disagree… i dont think he’s on the fence at all… i think he’s clearly in Germany’s yard…. then when Germany yells at him, he’ll scamper back over the fence to either US or Serbia….

    similar to rossi vs ferrari…. id much rather have Ferrari representing the US b/c he actually WANTS to…. Rossi would only play for the US if he failed at Italy… National teams are not club teams… you dont sell your services for X goods… you represent b/c you want to represent…


  • brett

    dont get me wrong, id be more then happy to see the kid wearing our jersey… but i want him to wear it b/c he wants to, not because he could wear someone else’s jersey and this was his “fall back” team


  • Pat the Red Bulls Fan

    As a USMNT fan, I’m not looking for players who view the USA as sloppy seconds.

    It should be a honor to put that jersey on, you shouldn’t have to sell somebody on it.


  • Felix

    As much as I’d love to see him play for the US, I think in the end his lawyers/agents and the German Federation’s authorities will find some kind of loophole to get him in the German colors. I just hope this doesn’t come down to Rongen’s “snubbing” of him for the 2007 U-20 WC.


  • Jason

    Brett – agreed. Rossi did have the potential to go down as a US great. But that doesn’t appear to have any kind of appeal whatsoever. It seems like it would be better to be among a list of greats for a top tier soccer country than to be the very best for a second tier country that could care less about soccer.

    I’m just saying that’s what appears to be the case for some players. Ernie Stewart gladly donned Red, White and Blue despite his eligibility for Holland but that was his choice and we of course, were happy for it. But yes, I agree, let’s field players who want to be with us.


  • East River

    I honestly can’t see him picking the US over Germany. The US over Serbia, I can see, but when the likes of Germany or Italy come calling its just hard to compete with that. We are talking about WC titles, Euro titles, and the fame ahhh the fame… and don’t forget the MONEY! At least he is still thinking about it. What was Rongen thinking is the big question? I do remember Rongen saying he didn’t think Subotic had progressed well at Mainz. But Subotic is not Rossi, Rossi was born and raised in the US, Subotic was here for a few years so shoudl not get heart broken about where his loyalities lie.


  • Libertarian

    He should–gasp–play where he wants… right? If you accept that, then you can’t get mad about his decision… right? Maybe disappointed it doesn’t align with your own “wants,” but not mad.


  • John Doe

    “I find this disappointing, because a few months later after Rongen said I was not good enough for the U-20s, I played a very good season and started getting calls from various countries [U.S. included] for the full men’s team. I still don’t know what he saw in the other players, and what he didn’t see in me.”

    This comment from Subotic struck me with the thought of team vs talent on the youth development level. We should be playing the best most talented players on our youth teams. I think the mentality of many of our youth coaches is to put the “team” first in the thought of getting results over allowing players to be showcased. Who really cares how well we do at these youth tournaments they are just glorified scout camps for pro teams. Our mentality should be getting these kids into the best pro environments to allow them to improve for the full men’s national team. Unfortunately our coaches need results to justify their jobs which makes our whole system suffer.


  • Nic


    I’m not sure if Subotic would be able to immediately qualify to play for the Serbian national team. His family, while being ethnically Serb, is from Bosnia. It would depend largely on whether his grandparents were born within the current Serbian boundaries, if I’m not mistaken.

    Ultimately, he’ll have to decide 1) to which country he feels most tied and 2) where he’ll have the best opportunity to play. I wouldn’t count the US out.


  • JH

    I gotta say, it doesn’t really matter to me if we’re the 2nd or 3rd option for these kids, as long as they choose us over them (whoever them might be). I don’t think we have a rich enough tradition to really care that the USMNT kit is being donned with great pride and that the U.S. is the ONLY team that particular player ever wanted to play for.

    I’m greedy. I don’t care if the U.S. is the last team Subotic or Rossi or whoever wanted to play for, as long as they eventually play for us.

    It would be nice to start going into the WC every four years hoping for something more like we saw in South Korea/Japan in ’02 and less like we saw in France in ’98 and Germany in ’06. Beating up on CONCACAF will only be fun for so long, and we need players like Subotic and Rossi to start having that hope.

    Who cares if we’re their first choice?


  • Oranje Mike

    It’s all a matter of what country you think of as home. That goes beyond what country you live in. If Subotic thinks of himself as German or Serbian then he should play for Germany or Serbia. If Subotic does not want to play for the United States, more power to him, although it looks as if the option is on the table. Rossi, on the other hand, is an American by birth (and I believe still counts himself as an American) and he never gave us the time of day. That’s why I disagree with his choice and why I will never cheer him on.


  • Sin2R

    I’d rather have true Americans, i.e., those that feel like they are Americans, representing our country. If you think your really Italian or Mexican, good luck with that. If you think your German or Serbian, fine. If you are born in the Faroe Islands, and move to the US when you are 22 and start to feel like an American and love our country, your an American in my mind, and I want you on my team.

    America is all about being a melting pot of different heratiges (sp?).

    I hope Germany, Italy, and Mexico cap these brats and then drop them so that they cannot play for another country. That should teach them about loyalty.


  • Thom

    4now- for what it is worth I agreed with your comments about fandom in regards to my post. As fans we do need to rant on sometimes as I do with anything that has to do with FIFA in general – Little Jack Warner and Seth Bladder in particular.

    I wonder sometimes if any other sport in the world lives to such a large extent in the internet/ blog bubble as U.S. soccer.It seems as though the internet/blogs are all we fans have.


  • Lee

    If he can’t take getting yelled at by a youth coach, then how is this kid ever going to make it at a team like Manchester United. Sir Alex would make Subotic kill himself. I mean did Subotic ever stop to think for a moment that the reason Rongen laid into him is that because he is a superior player to all those other crappy center backs and that Rongen expects so much more out of him?


  • papa bear

    Sounds like he’s gone. He won’t start for Germany anytime soon though as they crank out defenders like they are going out of style, but I guess he’s comfortable waiting 4-8 years to get that chance.

    @Posted by:jrnail23 | July 31, 2008 at 01:52 PM

    To your point I would also add the sickness that is many in the media and coaching staff of the USMNT that create an ‘untouchable’ aura around Boca and especially Gooch. What 19 year old wants to come into that? Look at home many already write off Orrozco and I think he is a far more polished centerback than Gooch in terms of technique.

    I’m sorry, but both (especially Gooch) should be looked at and pushed. They aren’t the end all, be all at centerback.


  • Matt in Japan

    Maybe he is being a little childish about the whole thing, but then he is only 19 and coaches don’t usually criticize players openly at such young ages. I hope Thomas Rongen at least appologized to him privately.

    Anyway, he is a young impressionable kid who surely wants people to ‘love’ him so he will probably choose germany if he can(and as long as his star continues to rise) just because he is surrounded by people from that country who would like to see him choose that country every day.

    This could be one of those situations where we actually have good old G.W. Bush to thank . Come to think of it all these talented kids chose another country over the U.S. during his rein no? Our image abroad sucks now!!!


  • Bob


    I by no means said anything about Serbia’s play. They can play ball. But lets look at the overall picture. Unless you have a large population in europe you will not be producing great or good enough players to compete with the other european teams. The odds that they can sustain being a “great” team and consitantly make WCs are not great. Were as the US will most likely always make the WC, due to lack of competitive teams in the region.

    SO Please don’t be a moron and put words into my mouth. Like I said before I never said anything about there quaility of play.


  • Luis Chavez

    I hope he Chooses anyone but the US TEAM, I prefer to keep the Red white and blue for people who will fight and bleed the colors. ITs simple if you have to question which team to represent than maybe you should consider not playing for any team. You need to get your head straight first.

    P.S. This is coming from an person who migrated to another country and has repect for both countries, but THERE have never been any doubts on what team I would play for.

    FOR ME having players like




    not on our team is a great thing, keep them miles away from wearing my colors now if Orozco could change his mind and go play for the land down under. hhhmmm

    this is not a club team where you love your team but in your heart boo players on your team that you wish never worn your colors (blanco and the fire) You should never feel disgraced by having a player play for your team.


  • Oranje Mike

    @Luis Chavez

    Could you please clarify your comments about Blanco and the Chicago Fire? Are you saying Fire fans don’t really like him?


  • Kaiser

    Subotic is exactly the type of player we need!

    There is a huge hole in the center of defense for the USMNT. Bocanegra is decent, but not consistant enough. Gooch is slow and gets caught out of position. Conrad is solid, but not overly talented. Parkhurst is smart, but needs a good back to play next to him. Edu is better as a midfeilder. The US needs someone to anchor that backline, and if this is the guy who can do it, go get him Bradley!


  • Justin O

    Bob – Serbia has more talent than Greece, and they were just European champions.

    And speaking of the European championship, isn’t participating in that tournament an appealing option? The US gives him zero chance of that.

    From a purely sporting point of view, playing for Serbia in UEFA is surely a hell of a lot more interesting than playing for anyone in CONCACAF. The number of BIG games is numerous times more than you get playing in CONCACAF.


  • Daniel


    Billionaire-backed Hoffenheim bid for Subotic. That`s why Dortmund had to pay that much. Subotic`s coach said, he didn`t bring him to Dortmund because he liked his haircut. That sounds plausible to me.


  • Daniel

    Recently, I have read an interview with Subotic in a German magazine.

    He said that his parents and his sister live in the US, while the rest of his family is in Bosnia and that most of his friends and his girlfriend are in Germany.

    His girlfriend Lisa Ryzih was born in Russia but since she had German heritage she and her family emigrated to Germany when she was 2y.o.. She has become U-20 world champion in pole jumping and just missed out on qualifying for the Olympics.



  • Angel

    I think we should be looking to our new U17 I can see a lots of talend there and the u20 too but we our national team coaches to be careful and do some good scouting to fine those players no matter what nationality background are they from, Give them a chances to progress and play for the national team, BOB BRADLEY is a little bit like Bruce Arena Keep using the same players on every call up. Thats why friendly games are made up, to see new players an evalute and see how the preform. That is the reason why Castillo, Rossi, Subotic, Francisco Torres from (Pachuca), and many more had say no to the USMNT. They all have things in common, They were in the Youth System and were let go by the national coaches. Anyways if you don’t want to loose good players I hope that we get some good scouting and keep those kids in check. That is why we need SHEA in the Men’s National Team before he decided to do the same a the other guys and that is choose another National Team.


  • Angel

    Sorry about my bad spelling and grammer..lol I know I need to get back to school.


  • Joey

    White guys should NEVER wear cornrows, as Subotic was proudly sporting in a recent photo. Let him take that scheisse to Belgrade, just like Rossi took his dirty Jersey leather pants and jean shorts to Italia.


  • Miklos

    Forgive me if this has already been said, but Castillo did not pass on the US, they passed on him. He wanted tp play for the US but was not on Bradley’s radar.


  • brett

    Angel- LOL, BB using the same guys?? hardly… he’s given more guys caps then Arena did in his entire tenure… i think in BB’s first year he capped over 60 different players, including many of those 60 were players who had fewer then 10 caps… and quite a decent number of them saw first cap for the nats…..

    this is funny, b/c if bradley brought in new players and lost quite a number of those games you all would be calling for his job… he was already on the fence as he was the interm coach, a simple mess up couldve cost him the job… he’s played it safe and he’s capped plenty


  • brett

    Miklos- you can hardly blame BB on the fact that Castillo capped with Mexico… he did it on June 2007…


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