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U.S. Men's National Team

Report: Johannsson could accept Iceland call over USMNT

AronJohannssonAGF1 (O-posts.net)

By DAN KARELL

In Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster press release on Thursday, the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach alluded to the possibility of bringing in 22-year-old Icelandic forward Aron Johannsson in for a look for this summer’s Gold Cup.

Unfortunately for Klinsmann, he may be too late.

According to ESPN, the Alabama-born player would accept a call up from Iceland for their upcoming World Cup qualifier on June 7 against Slovenia rather than wait for a chance to represent the U.S. at the 2013 Gold Cup or in other matches.

Johannsson, a teammate of U.S. National Team forward Jozy Altidore at AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie, moved to Iceland with his parents at the age of three and has represented the island nation at the U-21 level, playing eight matches in qualification for the U-21 European Championships.

This season Johannsson has split time with AGF Aarhus in the Danish Superliga and AZ, making a combined 23 appearances and scoring an impressive 17 goals.

What do you make of this news? Do you feel that the U.S. is missing out on a great player? Would you rather see other players given a chance at the Gold Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

120 comments
  • THomas

    I can’t disagree with whatever decision he makes. However, if he ever wants to play in a World Cup and not just WCQs, the choice is clear.

    Like

    • Socom 2

      I kinda figure that since he never filed the “one time” switch that he was waiting for Iceland. This means this will be the second dual national I wasted my time watching his games.

      Like

      • zztoppppp

        Now we just have to pray that Mixx Diskerud won’t be the third.

        Like

      • Eric

        By all accounts, Mix is on board with the USMNT. That plus his current run of good form with Rosenborg, and I would not be surprised at all to see him be cap-tied at the Gold Cup.

        Like

      • zztoppppp

        Klinsmann has indicated that he wants Mixx at the Gold Cup, but according to Norwegian media he has opened his options back up since the January camp.

        Klinsmann don’t you dare mess this up for us.

        Like

      • frank

        if Mix wants to leave, he should. He’s a nice guy and talented player but he’s 22. Has to wait his turn. Bradley, Jones, Holden, Kljestan, Torres all ahead of him. 2018 WC is his thing if he can wait. If not go to Norway

        Like

      • Ross

        Exactly! You don’t call someone up just to cap tie him. Or because maybe one day he will be good enough to make the first team. That’s not fair to him or the player snubbed.

        Like

      • Excellency

        Mix fits better with Norwegian national team, if you ask me.

        He was interested in coming to MLS at one point this year but he is now settled with Rosenborg in Norway. He doesnt really fit Klinsmann’s style and in Norway there are so few players that Mix’s talent will be national team worthy at some point even if there is not an immediate spot for him right now.

        Like

      • sony

        “He was interested in coming to MLS” who told you that? The interest came from Portland not Mixx.Porter wanted him badly and Mixx D. said No THANKS.

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      • Ives Galarcep

        Actually, Portland was interested right up until Diskerud’s salary demands, then they said “for that money we can get somebody better” and they did in Diego Valeri.

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      • Johnny Rocket

        I thought he didnt come because he wanted his rights with Portland and not the MLS?

        Like

    • Mike

      I would argue the opposite..He is good but probably not good enough for the US so playing in a WCQ is probably better than nothing.

      He is not much different than many dual German / US nationals who choose the US over Germany.. They choose the US because they are not good enough for Germany.

      Like

      • drew11

        Didn’t they expand the euros to like 64 teams? Iceland might qualify for that. I think he will be ok either way.

        Like

      • keithbabs79

        You make no sense. How is he similar to the Germans? With what you argue, he’s the exact opposite: not good enough for US, but good enough for his home country.

        Like

      • Yusef

        I disagree that the reason they play for the US and not Germany is because they can’t make the German team. These guys grew up in an environment where they were treated differently based on the way they look and some of them gravitated toward African American culture even though they never spent time in the States. Some may have just coveted international football, but others are expressing their identity by playing for the States.

        Like

      • slowleftarm

        Do you think any of them would ever have been selected for Germany? I don’t.

        Like

      • WhiteHart

        I honestly don’t think Terrance Boyd would play for Germany even if he was selected.

        I understand that wasn’t the point you made, but it’s pretty clear from hearing him speak, his remarks on Twitter, and from the “Stars and Stripes” tattoo he just got, that he sees himself as American.

        Not disagreeing with your assessment, though I think Fabian and Timmy may have eventually played for Germany (fringe players)

        Like

      • Mike

        That could be be a factor and is probably the case with Boyd and. Williams but I would still believe being good enough for Germany is the primary factor

        Like

    • Travis in Miami

      Perfect answer. I’m not even going to reading anymore comments.

      Like

  • Travis

    He should play for Iceland, his ties to the US are extremely loose, simply having been born here and spent barely any time here. His true connection is with Iceland, play there.

    Like

    • Beto

      +1 also i havent seen him play too much but is he better than Boyd?, McInerney? Gomez? Agudelo? I wouldnt want another Teal Bunbury situation where he gets cap tied and then we never play him again… But hey if he believes that he is and he wants to rep the USA then im all for it.

      Like

      • Todd T

        Actually he is pretty good and would be a nice addition to the stable of could be’s.

        Like

      • MOUF

        Teals strike record for the Nats is just as good as any of those players listed/they all rarely produce.

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      • louis z

        he is a very good player. very crafty. he can beat a defender 1-1 without using speed, we don’t anyone like him. He is more of a 10 than a 9 in my opinion.

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    • Todd T

      Well yes and no…he should play with Iceland if that is his choice but he has a pretty significant tie to the US…he was born here. Having said that your point is well taken on the whole.

      Like

      • Travis

        In the grand scheme of things being born somewhere doesn’t really count as being significant to me. Say I am born in X country but moved to Y country when I was one year old and raised there my entire life. My ties are with Y country, I would feel little, if any, connection to X country. I think Johannson has potential and would be happy to see him choose the US but think he should go to where he feels most connected and that is probably Iceland

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      • Todd T

        Travis I don’t disagree with your sentiment from the players side. I don’t think he has to play for the US any more than Rossi should have played with the US. For sure we have to respect a players wishes and desires. My point from an USMNT perspective is that he is an American Citizen because he was born here and therefore I don’t think it is out of hand to gauge his interest in playing for the US. The worst thing he could say is no and we move on. No harm no foul.

        Like

      • peterjh

        It depends. If you parents were from country X, then you were likely raised with some of those values and culture. But that’s not the case, here.

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    • biff

      +1, Travis. The guy’s mother and father are Icelandic and were studying abroad (in Mobile) when Johannssonhe was born. He grew up in Iceland. Do we really want a guy on the team who has absolutely no connection to the USA except that his Icelandic mom and dad studied in Alabama for a few years 20 years ago? This quest for the Holy Grail of soccer players has gotten soooo out of hand. I am really sick of all the oooohing and aaaahing over foreign born players and the calls to cap-time now. Ridiculous.

      We got plenty of good players in the player pool who will play their hearts out for wins and those are the type of players who truly care for the shirt and the ones I want to cheer for, not mercenaries who don’t give a darn and are only looking for a free ticket to WC 2014, 2018, 2022, etc.

      Like

      • Todd T

        Biff, your point is well taken for the first paragraph although I think we should get any players in who could help the team.

        I am not sure I agree with the second paragraph though. I would not consider the dual nationals mercenaries. They are Americans players with unique options. They are players who want to play at the highest level. It is disappointing that so many assume they don’t care about the uniform just because they were not born in the US. In the end, they want to play and if they can’t play with Germany, that doesn’t mean they will play without passion in a US jersey. Jermaine Jones whose play often times borders on reckless, is a tireless work horse who also has his moments of brilliance, played half a game with a sizable hole in his foot in a foot of snow. But your right he clearly doesn’t have any heart for the jersey.

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      • biff

        @Todd T: Thanks for your level-headed comment. It appears that my comment above was misinterpreted. I want to make it crystal clear that I am not advocating the exclusion of our GerMericans from the USMNT player pool. I was basing my second paragraph, which you referred to, as a continuation of my first paragraph, and that is that Johannsson’s mother and father are citizens of Iceland who happened to have their baby boy while studying abroad and then returned back home. Try to look at it at the perspective of an American couple studying in, maybe, Paris, where their baby boy is born and then returning home to, say, Cleveland. The boy grows up in the USA with absolutely no ties to France and then then becomes a good soccer player and–well, do you get my point?

        Our GerMericans are a different story altogether, their fathers are Americans and I fully support their inclusion in the player pool for consideration and I think they should be chosen if, and a very big if, they not only have the required skills but also can fit in with other USMNT members and can play with the same pride and commitment of those players who are not born abroad. In other words, they have to be able to add to team chemistry, just like the guys born in the USA. And we all know that Klinsmann is an expert on team chemistry😉

        Like

      • biff

        And just to add to my comment above, which is now in moderation limbo, people who regularly post on the SBI boards know quite well that I am huge fan of Jermaine Jones. I have taken a lot of grief for a long time defending him against his haters. I am happier than heck that Jones is on the team. I also was an early fan of Fabian Johnson before he became popular with the masses and I loved Terrence Boyd’s fire from the first second I saw him, and I liked that he did not hesitate one second to accept the cap tie to the USMNT. I also am glad Daniel Williams is in the pool and I think he should be called up if he deserves it. But quite frankly, he has not played for a couple of months and I think his call-up earlier this week, over, for example, Gringo Torres, was wrong, wrong, wrong.

        Like

      • Sam

        I don’t believe Jones has no heart for the jersey. If he didn’t he would be like Timmy Chandler and Danny Williams and say they are sick or hurt or just not show up. I have to think he has to have some heart or he just wouldn’t work as hard.

        Like

      • GW

        World Cup soccer team development is not the popularity contest you would like it to be.

        Playing your heart out and truly caring for the shirt does not mean you are good enough to excel internationally.

        Kyle Beckerman’s heart and desire are beyond question and allow him to do much better than most people think but there is a limit to how far his limited talent will take him. Plus this is a team so a firebrand like him can lift up some of his more talented team mates and they will help make up the deficit.

        That’s why they call it a team.

        Like

      • juan

        Agree with the second paragraph totally. I’m no fan of seeking foreign players out that have no link to this country other than their father was some service guy that left some local woman a lil present before he shipped out

        He does however have a real tie her, in fact, more so than any of the Germans we are now playing. At least he was actually here at some point, before the first home game. That being said, its his choice. I would like to see him get a look though. I think our forward situation is our weakest position. Jozy has shown little internationally, Herc is mostly energy. Boyd idk, EJ,,, also IDK. If this guy can beat people 1v1 then he goes ahead of all those people. US will most likely go to the show… Iceland… doubtful. Comes down to does he want to go or not and can he impress

        Like

  • jidax

    Not gonna lose any sleep over that one, We Have BOYD , JOZY , Agudelo ETc….

    Like

  • AcidBurn

    Well, so much for Kevin Bacon then. Good luck to him and hope he enjoys the WCQs.

    Like

  • nato

    Iceland sucks anyway

    For years they preached anti American rhetoric, only to accept and depend on our armed forces for security.

    Like

    • skyman

      I would encourage you to take a bit more of an academic view of the geopolitical scene. They don’t coddle and encourage bankers to take 99% of resources. Look at how far they fell after 2008 and what they did about it: quite the opposite of here.

      Like

    • Leo

      I think Iceland is anti-anything that’s not Iceland. I spent two weeks there on a farm and learned quite a bit about their culture. It’s a pretty fascinating place.

      Like

    • Air Jordanz

      Um, Iceland’s team is actually pretty good.

      That said, at least Iceland knows how to put its money where it’s mouth is when it comes to political stuff (refusing to give bailouts to banks, etc.).

      That said, Mr. And Mrs. Johannsson obviously were pro-American enough to study her for 4+ years.

      Like

  • nato

    Iceland has

    Gudjohnsen, Finnbogason, Sigthorsson and now Johansson. Quality strike force for such a small country but they will never play in a WORLD CUP. Perhaps Euro 2016 since it’s expanded to 24 teams

    We have Jozy followed by guys like Gomez/EJ who will hold us over until Boyd, Agudelo, MacInerny is ready.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      You mean we have Dempsey and Gomez with Altidore and Donovan on the bench, Boyd and others in development, and EJ handed a plane ticket to the wrong destination.

      Like

  • USFan

    Would love to see another goal scorer added to the USMNT roster. But this isn’t the correct way. He’s been raised and groomed in Iceland. He should play there. Born in Alabama, I know. He should go represent the Country that he’s lived in for so many years.

    Like

    • Socom 2

      but Johannsson was the one saying that it would be hard to say “NO” to a US call up from Klinsmann

      Like

  • SD

    Can’t get upset over him, seems like the fan base/media wanted to make it an issue more than he himself….

    Like

  • Beto

    Our armed forces, economic immigration magnet, refugee program, and now higher education system are producing more USNT caps than USSF! ¡USA!

    Like

    • vince

      no he can’t. You still have to reside in the US along with being a natural born citizen

      Like

      • William the Terror

        He was born in Alabama. As much as most of us would like to disown that state, it is still a part of the United States and he is a natural born citizen. As long as he moved back here, he certainly could run for president.

        Like

      • Joe+G

        He would have to live here 14 years total to be eligible (along with being at least 35 years old). He’s already lived 4-5 years in the US.

        Like

    • zztoppppp

      I’m pretty sure you have to have been born here and lived here for a minimum of 30 years.

      Like

      • William the Terror

        Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States provides the qualifications for the presidency. It states as follows:

        No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States

        So, as long as he moved back and waited 14 years, at which point he would be past the 35-year-old mark, he could run. I doubt that it is in his plans.

        Like

      • MFP

        Depends. I strongly feel that you can’t be president if you’re cap-tied to another country. I’m surprised the framers didn’t think about that in the first place.

        Like

      • Older & Wiser

        Article II, Sec. 1 U.S. Const. — natural born citizen, attained 35 years of age and been a resident 14 years.

        Like

      • Kevin_H

        Soccerbyives, Giving you USMNT insight while helping you brush up on the US Constitution.

        Like

    • Todd T

      Did anybody see his long form birth certificate? Let’s get Trump on it!!!

      Like

  • Gerald

    I have no problem with this, as others have said he was raised in Iceland

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Except, how loyal to Iceland is he? He plays in Denmark and it is unclear if he listens to Bjork and Sigur Ros while making shoddy mortgage loans.

      Like

      • Daniel Karell

        He plays now in Alkmaar, Holland. Teammate with Jozy.

        Like

      • Gerald

        I hope that was sarcasm because if not that was a stupid post

        Like

  • Socom 2

    I think we are missing a great player for “right now” but there’s gonna be a lot of competition after this cycle of players at the forward position.

    He could see more of a long term future with iceland, who is actually in a good spot right now to qualify for the WC

    Like

  • I'm not a coach

    so nobody is upset considering months ago they were begging JK to call him up

    they still complain over Ibevic(?) and Subotic turning down NT call ups

    and try to bag on Rossi despite being in Italy since he was 12 and accepting their call ups. What stings more? That he scored 2 against us in the Confederations Cup or that he attributes his talent to Italy rather than the USA?

    If you’re born in a country, you should represent them unless you were raised in another country. Players switching for their parents country makes no sense. Represent the country you were either born in or raised in. There

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      The outlier to me is Subotic, he was in Bradenton, Florida. I mean, New Jersey, Alabama, not our showpieces. But if you’ve lived in coastal Florida and move to Dortmund on purpose…..then play for Serbia….

      Like

  • frank

    He scored 14 goals in like 17 matches for Denmark last year and some of you were ready to bow to him, Jozy scores 31 goals this season and somehow those goals don’t count, cause Eredivisie is a “garbage league?”

    something doesn’t compute

    Like

      • CG

        Just curious Vic… do you have any stats for Jozy on goal-scoring opportunities between AZ and the USMNT? Is he misfiring badly for the US and just plain more prolific for AZ? I’d be interested in adding that element to this overly simplistic argument (to be fair – overly simplistic on both sides, as most arguments are). Strikers obviously should be scoring, but there’s a lot of other things that they also need to be doing to be successful.

        Jozy is one of the top strikers in the US pool right now – 0 goals or not. Frank’s point is fair.

        Like

      • Vic

        I don’t have these statistics. My feeling is that Alkmar play a more wide open free flowing style with wingers which allows Altidore more opportunities. I’m not saying don’ t call Altidore however, he should earn his playing time. Boyd has barely gotten any playing time. Gomez and Johnson both have more goals than Altidore in the past 18 months but get less playing time.

        Like

      • CG

        But that’s part of my point (I think)… goals alone don’t tell the whole story. I think Jozy is better than Boyd and EJ by a fairly wide margin. Gomez is definitely in the conversation in my mind. Jozy brings more to the table than just goals that he often doesn’t get credit for. I agree that the style of play is different and the result is fewer goals on the national team (which is also true for a LOT of very good strikers around the world)

        Like

      • juan

        Goals in Holland dont mean anything. Its goals for the US we need and he’s not getting those

        Like

    • zztoppppp

      And/Or Clint probably not making the champions league, but mostly it has to do with the Timmy Chandler injury/commitment issues conspiracy.

      Like

      • Kevin_H

        Wrong. It’s because Lichaj doesn’t speak fluent German.

        Like

  • Reboot

    How was an Icelandic born in Alabama?

    I think this is one of those Manti Te’o hoaxes.

    Like

    • yesitsnate

      What if his whole life and career was a hoax on USMNT fans? We come to find who we think is the player “Aron Johannsson” has a different name and is a baby-faced 30 year old and this whole profile has been fabricated to troll USMNT fans and get lots of lolz

      Like

  • 2tone

    Well who didn’t see that coming. C’mon he has stated multiple times that he would rather play for Iceland.

    I felt the Johsannsson’s name drop from Klinsamnn yesterday was posturing at best.

    Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    One thing I wonder if Klinsi grasps — and it’s pertinent to Brooks as well — is that you may need to fast track players a little to secure their services in a nationality showdown. if they live in the other country and all we offer is what they could get there, we risk losing the residency tiebreak.

    I mean, if the guy can score plentiful first division goals then he’s probably better than EJ, call him into quali camp and give him a cameo sub to cap-tie. Well, you need to go to Gold Cup (or U-20s) and prove yourself, is a little too literal and underwhelming when Iceland can offer qualis and Euro potential, and Germany can offer their U-21s just the same.

    Like

    • Leo

      I think this is about the only area where I agree with the wait and see approach. Personally, I don’t want to fast-track someone that needs to be coerced by a senior team call-up. I think they should be able to display the right amount of maturity and talent to wait until they deserve a call to the senior level, not cap people, then never hear about them again because they didn’t have the goods.

      Put him through his paces and let him earn his stripes. If he can’t wait or he wants to pursue other options, I guess that’s the way that cookie crumbled.

      Like

      • Joe+G

        Have you ever met an athlete who didn’t think he was ready for the next level? It’s a symptom of their environment.

        Like

    • GW

      “One thing I wonder if Klinsi grasps — and it’s pertinent to Brooks as well — is that you may need to fast track players a little to secure their services in a nationality showdown”

      Morales, Boyd

      Like

  • AC

    Traitor. He should play for the United States because he was born here. Who cares if he moved to Iceland at the age of 3, identifies with that country, has played at the youth levels. ALL players should want to play for the U.S. even if they lived here an hour.

    Like

  • yesitsnate

    I’m not bothering to read if this was already said so I’ll make it brief:

    The kid has the birth right to play for both nations, if he wants the BETTER OPPORTUNITY to play in the ultimate tournament The World Cup, then you pick the United States. If you want the BETTER OPPORTUNITY to reach 50/75/100 international caps, you pick Iceland.

    It comes down to if he wants the personal life experience of tons of international games or the prospect of the personal life experience and professional experience of making a World Cup roster.

    Like

  • Eric

    Good luck to Johansson whichever he chooses. I can completely understand him electing to play for Iceland.

    Like

  • Good Jeremy

    Best of luck to him. He moved over at three so he is much more Icelandic than American, US citizen or not. This isn’t a case like Owen Heargreaves, Sydney LeRoux (meow!), Rossi, or even Subotic.
    The world is a big and complicated place.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have him.

    Like

  • Micah

    I am not upset. The kid was just born in America. It is not like one of his parents are American and he was born here. or both of his parents are American and he was born in Iceland. Even though he was born here he is still Icelandic in my opinion.

    Like

  • Dennis

    He could develop into a fantastic goal-scoring machine. or not.

    If the US loses sleep over every player who mighta been a US star or not (think Adu, Bunbury,Rossi or even those who had no foreign options but fell a bit short EJ, Twellman, Wondo, your favorite local star,…), well, we will be sleepless as well as clueless.

    Like

  • slowleftarm

    Who cares? Enough with trying to recruit non-Americans with tenuous ties. Let’s sink or swim with the players we actually produce here.

    Like

  • Mike R

    Kevin Bacon should definitely play for the US.

    He can be the Icelandic version of Ryan Giggs, a good player on a crap team that will never sniff a WC

    Like

  • David JS

    For all the misinformed comments here, the only thing I’d like to say is that Iceland is going to make a World Cup, probably next year’s in Brazil. And Johannsson will almost certainly be on that team. The US will make the World Cup almost every time, but there’s a decent chance Aron would never be on any of those squads. So to say “he has a better chance at the World Cup with the US” is questionable at best. The US has a better chance than Iceland, yes, but Iceland still have a plenty good chance and they would welcome Johannsson without a second thought.

    Like

  • dude

    I am outraged that this player I’ve barely heard of would abandon the US after bloggers mentioned his existence.

    Like

  • SoCal Soccer Mom

    Being a mom, I’d think my child lucky to have dual citizenship which would give him a chance to choose and play one side against the other. Hope they all choose what their heart says, be it the USA or Germany, Norway, Iceland, etc. Most player don’t have much of a choice except that one time FIFA change.

    Like

  • Socom 2

    The have a phone app in Iceland that makes sure that when you meet a girl, she is not related to you!

    Like

  • swifty

    I would rather have johannson play for us if he has the potential to make the usmnt better for this reason: if he or other “mercenaries” make our team better overall, then we will become more attractive options for dual citizen players like Rossi or Subotic whose biggest reasons for choosing other countries was that those teams were simply better. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for the through-and-through Americans like Bradley, Donovan, and Dempsey.

    Like

  • hush

    It’s punishment enough to have lived in Alabama for 3 years, but to continue that punishment with playing for Iceland is insane!

    He has pelotas, that’s for sure. Oh well, good luck to him and his TierraHielo team in qualifying. Buah

    Like

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