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The chase is on for Subotic


It isn’t often that a 19-year-old defender makes a big splaish in a league like the German Bundesliga. It is even more rare when that player is eligible to play for the U.S. national team.

That is exactly where Neven Subotic finds himself after getting off to a very good start with his new club, Borussia Dortmund. With three goals early in the season, Subotic is turning heads and leaving fans from the United States to Germany wondering which national team he will play for.

The German Federation has let it be known that, even though Subotic is currently not eligible to play for Germany, it has its eye on Subotic.

‘We assume he can play for us, because he has not played an A-international for the United States," Harald Stenger, media director for the German federation told the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

To Subotic’s credit, he is choosing to side-step any comments on where he would prefer to play, choosing instead to focus on his club career at the age of 19.

"I read the coach of the national team has expressed a positive interest in me, but I don’t have much to say on the subject," Subotic told the German agency SID.

"I am not even sure myself where I stand in terms of eligibility."

Subotic will make his UEFA Cup debut today when Borussia Dortmund takes on Udinese.

For a closer look at Subotic and his situation, you can read this recent piece from

What’s my take? From what I have heard, and after listening to the various interviews, I get the distinct impression that Subotic is making a strong push to play for Germany and is pursuing all legal means to make that happen. While it is possible that Subotic would prefer to play for Germany, what is not known is which country Subotic would play for if Germany is not an option.

It’s time for a poll:

What do you think Subotic will do? Will he jump at the chance to play for Germany? Could you see him playing for the United States if FIFA doesn’t allow him to play for Germany?

Share your thoughts on Subotic’s situation below.


  1. ok, since you aren’t getting this, I will slow it down for you. Since the world cup started, every host nation has done better than in their previous world cup outing, save one. That one is Germany in 2006. That is why Germany in 2006 is the worst performing host nation. Germany finished third in 2006 after finishing second in 2002. In my book, third is worse than second. In 2002, south Korea finished fourth after never making it out of group play before. In 1998 France won, in 1994, the US made it out of group play in only their second finals since WWII. In 1990, Italy won. See the pattern? Keep going back, if you want. In fact, count all the finals held in Europe since WWII, and count the host teams that didn’t win. I believe you will find Germany in the same company as Spain. Top ten countries that host the cup are expected to hoist the cup, that’s the way it’s always been. France, England, Italy, Argentina, heck, even Germany did it in the 70s. Why do you think people fight so hard to host a cup finals? It’s not the money (you usually lose money) for the big countries, it’s how you win.

    Maybe you are too young to know how far we have come in 20 years, much of it under Gulati’s leadership. Maybe you never had to beg and plead your way into a random sports bar at the age of twelve to watch a cup final because it was the only place in Portland showing the game, and doing it again at 16 to watch the US team play in Italy. It’s understandable, it’s hard to remember how bad we were back then. But that’s where we have come from. That’s Gulati, he’s not a manager, he’s never tried to be a manager. Ussoccer is a legitimate entity. Twenty years ago, it was a joke. We got the 94 cup for the same reason south Africa has 2010, as a charity case, to prove the major powers weren’t hogging it, and to spread the gospel. We can now compete for another one on our own merits. That’s not too shabby, you know?

    But hey, if you want a manager who said, at the time, that he was burnt out and didn’t have the energy anymore, that’s cool, I suppose. Personally, I’d rather have someone like Hiddink, who has a proven ability to take developing teams to the next level.

  2. If Subotic is answering by saying he’s not sure what his German eligibility is, then he’s answered the question about where he’d prefer to play. If that wasn’t his first choice, he’d simply say I’m playing for the US or Serbia or Bosnia.

    If he wants a shot at playing with the best team, it’s an easy call: Germany. However, if he wants to play top-flight international football regularly, it’s an easy call: the U.S. He’ll slot right into our lineup and hold his spot for the next ten or fifteen years, barring injury.

  3. Its Rossi Part 2 people let it go

    this is going to happen a lot get used to it,

    Were going to lose tons of hispanic kids to Mexico and central america,that were deemed not good enough by moronic coaches that want strength over technical ability.

    We’ll lose kids with european roots as well because, rossi,subotic, and next name here.

    We need a new direction right noe US turns people off.

  4. Northzax,

    So you claimed that the German 2006 performance was “the lowest performing host team in World Cup history” even though you’re admitting that it’s not even close to the worst performance. You’re not making any sense.

    You say he could have had any job in the world, yet you’re ragging on his credentials. If he’s so lowly regarded, then why does everyone want him as their coach?

    Do you know the definition of quitting? Klinsy finished his contract and coached his team through a successful World Cup run. That’s not quitting, that’s finishing the job.

    I’ll ask for a second time, what credentials does your boy, Sunil Gulati have, that make you think we should trust HIS judgement over Klinsmann’s?

  5. To the best of my knowledge Mario Gomez was born in Germany, and might even have a German parent. As to the comments that Subtic would be on the bench, doubtful if he keeps his current form up. His upbringing was complicated, so pinning a single nation he should play for is hard. He lived in Germany, Bosnia, and the US as a child, and is ethnically Serbian. In the US this would be like someone who was born in Wisconsin to parents from Iowa, grew up in Alabama, and went to college and works in NY attempting to decide what state they are really from.

  6. Yossarian:

    did you even read my post? Obviously 3rd wasn’t the worst finish by a host country, the US in 94 owns that. It is, as I said, the only time a host country finished WORSE in the hosted tournament than in the previous tournament (Germany finished second in 2002, third in 2006. every other host country at least improved on it’s performance) That is what I said.

    and please, he’s never quit anything? so he was fired as Germany Coach? or did he quit, saying that he was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to continue? maybe this BBC Sport article will clear things up for you:

    oh wait, maybe he was misquoted?

    get him off your pedestal. Klinsmann didn’t want the job, he didn’t want ANY job. he could have had any job he wanted, why take this one?

  7. As much as I’d love to see Subotic end up in the Nats uniform (I know were his sloppy seconds but who cares when he’s that talented and with his childhood I can understand why he is so wishy-washy on this), I think he’ll end up in Germany. I know that the way the current FIFA rules are written he can’t play for Germany; however, I believe with his meeting the residency requirement for citizenship as a child and the fact Germany wants him (and I think he wants to play for them) I think FIFA will look the other way this one time to let him play for Germany – I think their rationale will be that it is fruitless to force him to play for a nation he doesn’t want to play for. I hope I’m wrong, that FIFA rejects his bid and he ends up with the USMNT, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. Bradley, Gulati, and Rongen

    Not playing Jozy, Adu, and Cooper

    FAIL FAIL FAIL. Subotic must be SO excited to get away from US football. As a fan of the US, it is SO hard to continue to be a supporter. Bradley, Ringen, Gulati, and Rongen would have been fired in the real world.

    Hype like the 2010 project, “don’t tread on me”, having the biggest number of football participation really do not help at all.

  9. Oh by all means, lets challenge Germany and make FIFA tell him he can’t play for whomever he wants to. That’s a swell way for the USSF to endear him to them. If it was me and the US did that, I would immediately declare myself to play with Serbia.

  10. And we would most definitely NOT have the same players. Klinsmann likes young, attacking players, therefore there’s little question that Adu and Altidore would be playing.

  11. Northzax,

    I had to go back ALL the way to the last world cup to put the lie to your statement that Germany’s performance is the worst by a host country in history. Germany won the 3rd place game to finish 3rd while Korea lost to finish fourth in 2002. Please try to get your facts straight. If you were paying attention, you’d know that Germany was THRILLED with their 3rd place performance as their program was in shambles before Klinsy took over and their talent pool was the weakest they’ve had in generations. Why do you think he got hired to coach the best team in Germany.

    Quit citing burnout? He’s never quit anything in his life. He’s one of the greatest winners of all time. What are you even talking about? Please stop making things up. Get your facts straight.

    What would he change? Just listen to this quote from Wikipedia:

    “After the match, Klinsmann praised the performance of his young team. They beat Portugal 3-1 in the third place play-off, where he played Kahn instead of Jens Lehmann. The victory triggered a massive Berlin parade the following day where Klinsmann and the team were honoured by the public.

    Afterward, Franz Beckenbauer, previously a strident critic of Klinsmann’s, declared his desire to see Klinsmann continue as coach. There was also widespread public support for Klinsmann due to his team’s spirit and attacking style of play. The team’s strong performance is thought by some to have renewed national pride and restored Germany’s reputation as a top footballing nation. Due to his success coaching the national team, Klinsmann was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz. He was even referred to as “Kaiser”, a term meaning “emperor” in German, usually reserved for German footballing greats, e.g. Franz Beckenbauer.”

    Gee, preparing a young team for the world cup. Having faith in young guys to play at a high level. Playing an exciting, attacking style of football. Wow, that sounds exactly like Bob Bradley, doesn’t it? And exactly how is this not ragging on Klinsmann’s credentials? Are you even aware of what you’re writing?

  12. Yossarian:

    I am not ‘ragging’ on Klinsmann’s credentials, they are what they are (at the time the US job was up for grabs that was two years of coaching Germany. impressive. of course, the team actually finished lower than they did in 2002, despite hosting the tournament. In case you are wondering, can you name the last team that did worse in the Cup they hosted than in the previous cup? (psst: the answer is “none”, which officially makes the 2006 German team the lowest performing host team in World Cup history.) nice.

    So he takes Germany to the worst finish by a host nation (compared to historical performance) in history, and then takes over Bayern Munich, the best team in the league (currently in second) it’s not like he took over an underperforming squad, right? they are defending champions and have won the league 7 of the last ten years.

    so tell me, how does the US today compare to Germany or Bayern? What would Klinsmann have achieved that Bradley hasn’t? seems like we can’t be a lot better than Gold Cup Champs and 3-0 in qualifying, right? would we look tactically different? perhaps. would he have quit, citing burnout? most likely. would we have played more qualifiers against European clubs? who knows? but let’s not pretend he’d make us a top ten team guaranteed. we’d still have the same players, and be playing the same matches.

  13. Does anyone realize why Subotic is waiting. It’s so he can finally get German citizenship. Then he’ll tell people about his intentions. However if he realizes he’ll just about never get playing time in/for Germany then he’ll play for Bosnia and Herzegovina(birthplace), Croatia(ethnicity/family), or USA(lived there for a while. To be honest I think USA can win the fight if he narrows it down to B&H Croatia and USA. We can make a splash in the WC when we play well. of course if National pride comes in….yeah whatever….

    but lets not forget the most important thing here….FIFA 2008 says he’s ours

  14. Have you seen this kid play?

    He is not a poser. We should try to get him. Whatever the US did to insult him, they obviously made a mistake. Bocanegra is a liability. This Kid could start at center back for us and obviously provide goals on set pieces.

  15. I’m sure Gulati can track down Neven’s agent.

    The USSF should fight this. At this point, it’s moot. Neven will not play for us, and if we do take legal action, that conclusion is all but guaranteed.

    We just can’t afford to take this lying down. And we will have to set a precedent if FIFA does roll over. I say have the USSF show some balls and ask for financial compensation for “developing” the kid.

    Why not? We did! Ives? Ives?

  16. Here are sme quotes and FACTS –

    From his agent Steve Kelly on 11/5/07 – “Neven would never miss a National Team Match” – Yanks-abroad

    On 11/8/07 it was reported that the previous Tuesday “FIFA rules prohibit a player from playing for Germany if they were NOT a citizen of that country while playing the US.”

    Subotic lived in the U.S. from the age of 9 to the age of 17/18 – NOT two years as some moron here posted.

    Brian is right. The USSF or whomever represents the USMNT MUST be on top of this situation and use every legal argument possible to insure that the rules are upheld.

    While it would kill me to see him go to Bosnia or Croatia, these are the only other two legitimate countries he can play for (read the article at

    ALL PASSIONATE fans should be looking for Steve Kelly’s (Neven’s agent) email address so that we can inundate him with emails that need to be forwarded to Neven.

    In this manner, we can show him just how passionate we are about seeing him play for the U.S. Any outpouring of fan support is bound to be looked on favorably. All these guys really want is to be “shown the love”.

    Can anyone find Steve Kelly’s email address?

  17. Northzax: can you name another Cup semifinal coach that is highly regarded enough to coach the best team in a top-4 league and has a familiarity with the U.S., it’s players and it’s organization? Klinsmann was the perfect hire and Sunil blew it. You rag on Klinsy’s qualifications – what are Gulati’s??? I and the rest of the football world will take Klinsmann’s opinion over Gulati’s every single time. Do you really think Bob Bradley’s MLS cups qualify him more than Klinsy? If you do, then you’re being provincial and ignorant.

    Brian: I don’t think what Rongen said was so bad, but the point is that talented kids that have options to play for other nat teams should be treated with kid gloves and wrapped up with A level appearance ASAP.

    This should be recognized at all levels and there should be an edict and a formal policy and guidelines coming from the top.

  18. if the kid wanted to play for the US, he would have already stated thus…. therefore by using logic he’s obviously holding out to see what his option are…

    and if US wasnt an option he would have said so… all n all, i dont want the US team filled with players who deem it as a “fall back” team… i want the players who WANT to wear the US jersey…

  19. @ Steve

    Mario Gomez is a Swabian born near Stuttgart to a German mother.

    Podolski and Klose grew up in Germany, Kuranyi has German citizenship since birth through his father, Odonkor’s mom is German and he was born in Germany.

    Neven has lived most of his life in Germany, is fluent in Germany and considers Germany his home stating he was homesick when his family moved to Florida.

  20. Let’s challenge Germany at Fifa. We have a strong case and I believe the rules are on our side. The only problem will be that Fifa will have Hugh Dallas sitting as the judge.

  21. “Mario Gomez was born on Germany with Spanish Parents, but I understand what u r saying”

    Angel, to be even more precise: he was born in Germany to a Spanish father and a German mother

  22. If he doesn’t even have German citizenship NOW how can the Germans expect that he’ll play for them when the FIFA rule clearly states that for him to switch from the US, for whom he played in CONCACAF U17 Qualifiers and the U17 World Cup, he must have been a citizen of Germany at the time he first played for the US?

    The rule is pretty clear cut. If FIFA changes the rule for Subotic it will have to change them for a whole lot more players and FIFA doesn’t want this. Hell, Blatter is already strongly against nation-shopping for and by national teams.

    Subotic may never play for the US again but I just don’t see how he can play for Germany.

  23. I would have liked an “I don’t care option” on the voting.

    I find it interesting that the “pride” of playing for a national team seems to be diminishing to “pride” in playing for whatever national team will get me more money/prestige at club and country level.

    However, with the globalization of the sport (and the world) these types of situations are just going to come up more and more. Do you play for the land of your birth (USA) the land of your parents birth (whatever country that might have been) or the land of the country that developed you as a player (in this case Germany)?

    I think a lot of people are pissed because we think we are “missing out” on all of this talent. Personally, I’m just happy we have a national team that is good enough to qualify for the World Cup every four years. (Crossing fingers and hoping I didn’t just jinx the USMNT.)

  24. He should play for the USA.

    He won’t. He’s not convinced of the “upside” that US Soccer is trying to impose on its fans. All Gulati-hype. Combine that with Rongren benching him at the U-20 WC. Nice job.

    Bob Bradley will still start Onyewu and Bocanegra over this wunderkid anyways. what’s the point? Plus we have Simek and the other guy who still plays at West Ham United. Our defense is as secure as Bank money on Wall St.

    Onward young man, Germany needs you more.

  25. can someone explain the love for Klinnsman? What has he done as an international manager? Taken a top ten side, playing at home, to the semis of the world cup finals? Whoopee. Isn’t it kind of expected that a top ten side, with stars on their jersey already, will make the semis playing at home?

    If Subotic wants to play for Germany, let him play. It’s the country he has chosen to ply his trade in and make his home in. It’s a global world these days, let’s find players who want to put on the red white and blue. Should we chase him? Make him feel wanted? Sure. But can anyone really blame him?

  26. The problem here is that he played for the US as a youth – so in order to play for another nation he’d have to make the switch before turning 21 and according to FIFA he can only play for countries he was eligable for at the time he played for the US – and at the time that was only Serbia/Bosnia.

    In order for him to play for someone else, namely Germany – they are going to try and play the switch-a-roo with those at FIFA to make this happen. It’s certainly not a long shot because they lived in Germany for many years escaping the war at the time, although they never applied to be citizens.

  27. Well I’m happy that we have a Coach in the U-17 that is very different from all the rest of the National Team Coaches, Is is from S. American (Colombian). He is making the new kids play a different style of Football(Soccer) very enjoyable to watch. I seen a lots of talent there I hope if we don’t do well in 2010 maybe we can do better in 2014 and not over look all this talent go to waste or taken by other Country like Castillo and other Mex/American player, Rossi, Subotic. Please keep the talent here

  28. Brett..

    Of course the US calls in players born outside the US.

    But we call in players we are legally entitled to…like Adu, Feilhaber, Pablo, Ramos.. etc

    Germany is not legally entitled to Subotic. The rules are clear and they are trying to break the rules to get Suboitc (who is on the books as an American player). The US should try to fight that.

    On another point, people who try to blame Rongen for this are just people trying to take out every US shortcomming in soccer on the USSF and our coaches. What Rongen said wasn’t even that bad when you read it.

  29. From Fifa’s Bylaws

    Article 18 Change of Association

    ‘ If a Player has more than one nationality, or if a Player acquires a new nationality, or if a Player is

    eligible to play for several representative teams due to nationality, he may, up to his 21 1t birthday,

    and only once, request to change the Association for which he is eligible to play international

    matches to the Association of another country of which he holds nationality, subject to the

    following conditions:

    (a) He has not played a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition at °A”

    international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial

    appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current Association, he

    already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play.

    (b) He is not permitted to play for his new Association in any competition in which he has already

    played for his previous Association .

    If a Player who has been fielded by his Association in an international match in accordance with art .

    15 par. 2 permanently loses the nationality of that country without his consent or against his will

    due to a decision by a government authority, he may request permission to play for another

    Association whose nationality he already has or has acquired .

    Any Player who has the right to change Associations in accordance with par. 1 and 2 above shall

    submit a written, substantiated request to the FIFA general secretariat. The Players’ Status

    Committee shall decide an the request. The procedure will be in accordance with the Rules

    Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber.

    Once the player has filed his request, he is not eligible to play for any representative team until his

    request has been processed .

    Maybe I am reading this wrong, but since he was not already a German citizen when he played for the US he can not play for Germany. He is only eligible to switch to Serbia or Bosnia.

  30. I think the kid will end up playing for Germany, and if not, he will go with Serbia. It doesn’t matter if he got his “start” in the US. He only lived here for about 2 years. He feels more comfortable with Germany. I’ve watched him play, and he will make the German team and get playing time if he is given the green light. The kid is comfortable on the ball, and he scores goals, that’s a combination that the Germans are not going to pass up on. It is unfair to ask him to play for the US. I think the US Nats need to spend more time getting its players better instead of chasing after slim chances. The US doesn’t have problems with defense. It’s in attack that the US needs help.

  31. If FIFA lets Subotic play for Germany, after not allowing Salomon Kalou to play for Netherlands in the last World Cup cycle there are going to be major political ramifications over this. If FIFA reverses this precedent they will open up for players to claim new nationalities constantly. All those players who get paid to claim Qatar citizenship will suddenly be able to actually suit up for the Qatar National team.

  32. All Rongen’s fault, here. It’s a coach’s job to recognize talent and he has to be particularly careful about guys who have eligibility options. Once again, the U.S. shows that there is no intelligent, proactive voice from the top that is providing the coaches and personnel with good advice and guidance. No wonder they wouldn’t let Klinsmann coach the USMNT, he might have actually injected some common sense into the system. I’m insanely curious to know what the changes Klinsy wanted and the vision he had for the U.S. organization. It seems like vision and goals are like Kryptonite to the U.S. hierarchy. There’s nothing more terrifying to someone desperately clingning to power than a man with ideas.


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