U.S. Men's National Team

Iceland FA issues statement on Johannsson's commitment to USMNT

AronJohannssonIcelandU21 (Visir.is)


Just one day after learning that AZ Alkamaar forward Aron Johannsson had committed his future to the U.S. Men’s National Team, the Football Association of Iceland has issued a bizarre statement on the 22-year-old’s decision to reject the country where he was raised.

The association urged Johannsson, who was born to Icelandic parents in Mobile, Ala., to reconsider his decision to represent the United States on an international level. The statement even encouraged the public and the media to pressure Johannsson to change his mind.

According to the statement, the FA has already asked Johannsson, who has represented Iceland at the youth levels, to participate in the senior team’s match with the Faroe Islands on Aug. 14.

The forward made a move from Denmark’s AGF Aarhus to AZ last season, scoring a combined 17 goals in 23 appearances between the two sides. Johannsson has a great opportunity this season for major playing time after the departure of potential USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore to Sunderland.

Read the full translation of the statement after the jump, provided by Johannes Birgir Jensson of the World Football Foundation (WorldFootball.org):

Statement from KSÍ – Aron Jóhannsson should play for Iceland
Statement from KSÍ regarding Aron Jóhannsson

Aron Jóhannsson is an Icelander born in the USA in 1990 where he lived in the first years of his life. Aron’s parents are Icelandic. Aron got his soccer education under the KSÍ umbrella, with Fjölnir, where he played all the junior years (with a short stay with Breiðablik) and then played for their full team, before joining AGF in Denmark on September 1st 2010.

Aron Jóhannsson played 10 international matches for Iceland U21 in 2011 and 2012. Of these 10 games 8 of them were in UEFA competitions and Aron was a starter in each of them.

FIFA allows players to changes national sides once if they fulfill certain criteria, even if they have played with junior national sides, as long as they have not played an official A team match. One of the conditions allows players to switch to a country they were born in if they wish to represent it.

Aron has for the past year been unable to answer a call-up to the Iceland National Team from the national coach due to injuries. During that same time, news filtered through that the US Men National Team coach was interested in the player. Aron has no link to soccer in the USA at all.

Yesterday a statement from Aron was published where he expressed his desire to play for the USMNT. The only thing that has been pointed out to KSÍ from an interested party, is that his income potential, as a USA player, is much greater, both in the form of grants and sponsorship, than if he were an Iceland player. It is simply so that an Iceland National team member must play for land and country and for that they get honor and glory.

It is the utmost wish of KSÍ that Aron turns back on his ideas to change national teams. Aron is an Icelander through and through who we need in the tough international competitions. Aron has already played 10 U21 matches for Iceland and his future belongs there. Hopefully the public and media will respond and challenge Aron to continue competing for Iceland. KSÍ has already requested for Aron to participate in the next national team match vs. the Faroe Islands on August 14th.

There is no logic behind Aron relinquishing his Icelandic soccer identity.

Iceland Football Association


What do you think of this development? Do you see Johannsson changing his mind? Do you believe what the Iceland FA is saying?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Stateside Supporter

    SHOW ME A BIRTH CERTIFICATE! Until then, he’s a Bjorn and Þorramatur lovin’ ice-jockey! ;)

    In all seriousness, the non-American claims are completely ridiculous. Some people would argue that you can’t get much more ‘murican than Mobile, Alabama. I might argue the opposite, but I digress. I might not be a smart man, but I know the Constitution says about citizenship…

    Can anyone else not wait for the first “RUN ARON RUN!!” chant from the American Outlaws?!?!


  • chris

    He’s not even their best forward. Sigborsson is the one with real potential


  • IvanRG

    The Iceland FA has a right to be upset, but he has made a decision and they have to respect that. Aron will be a great addition to the USMNT.


  • Pingback: Johannsson files one-time switch to play for USMNT | Soccer By Ives

  • Joamiq

    This is bizarre. If they want him to reconsider, they can contact his agent. I don’t think public hand wringing is going to do them any good.


  • Hogatroge

    One additional point… the stipends for playing for the USMNT are nothing compared to a salary in a European league.

    The comment that he’ll get paid more by the US, while true, is extremely disingenuous.


  • quitetheschemer

    there is quite a bit of logic behind this move, play for the US and play in a world cup or two or play for iceland that will never ever qualify from europe.


  • Andrew

    What I think you’re all forgetting is Aron doesn’t owe anyone anything. It’s his life and he can do with it what he pleases.

    If this is ruining your day, maybe there are a few life decisions you need to make, too.


  • Brett

    “There is no logic…” Absolutely there is. With the USA he has a chance to play in meaningful tournaments.

    I wouldn’t be mad if he chose Iceland, but the USA is a melting pot and I welcome him with open arms.


  • NornIron

    As Coach K at Duke once said, “We recruit the best available talent.” I think this is the strategy the US MNT should follow. I could give a rat’s ass about being patriotic for the sake of passing on guys that are highly skilled, eligible to play for the US, and that happen not to have lived here all their life.


  • Kev

    HE WAS BORN IN THE USA. Fact, end of story. He is American. It is his choice. Happy to have an American play for our national team. I don’t understand the issue.

    Looking forward to see this kid play. Our depth is really getting amazing.

    PS – Wishing the best for Stu Holden. Still sick to my stomach thinking about this latest setback. Hey, if anyone can come back, its him.


  • Hejduk4President

    I think the amount of hostility surrounding Aron’s “American-ness” is absurd. This is big boy, international soccer. If you look at many of the elite national teams of the world there are multiple examples of players who had the choice to play for different national teams.

    Remember the 1998 France WC winning team? (for those of old enough lol). Zidane, Viera, Thuram, Karembu, Desailly, all players who made the choice to play for France over another country. This stuff happens all the time.

    PS: Go Crew.


  • Pingback: Jóhannsson (AZ Alkmaar), pronto per gli USA | SoccerItalia.info

  • RanchBoy

    Aron was born in the US, he is a US citizen. That makes him eligible for the USMNT if Jürgen calls him up. That he has dual nationality means he gets to choose. It’s his choice. He chose the USMNT. The only question is if/when he will be called up. Any questioning of whether he has the right, as a US citizen, to play for our team is absurd or worse. For those doubting whether he is just as much a citizen with all the rights and responsibilities of you or I or doubting whether he’s American “enough” may I suggest you read the Constitution? You won’t find multiple classes of citizen relevant to Aron and the USMNT.

    Frankly we all should rejoice that the USMNT is now a team that almost every American soccer player wants to play for. We’ve gained the stature now that there will be less like Rossi who, legitimately, choose to play for another country if they are eligible to play for the US. Thats a sign of success. Far from being a problem, it widens our talent base making our aspirations more and more realistic.


  • Snosbig

    1st of all as an American, it’s now the norm to lose your job to someone from a foreign country. so why not on the USMNT as well?…. get over it.
    Lastly, this is happening because F.I.F.A rules allow it, so if you’re gonna get P.O’d….get PO’d @ them


  • Mike

    Hey, Iceland offered Snowden a deal to be on their “team” without any connection whatsoever to their country; what goes around comes around.


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