By JUSTIN FERGUSON
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.