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Will Subotic choose the U.S. national team?


One down, two to go.

When German reports last week revealed that Neven Subotic no longer had Germany as a national team option, it appeared that the Borussia Dortmund defender might be ready to select the U.S. national team to play for after having played for the USA on the youth national team level, but Germany’s removal from the process still leaves Bosnia and Serbia has possibilities for the highly-rated central defender.

Trying to forecast Subotic’s next step is difficult considering it seemed very clear that Germany was his first choice. Will he play for his birth country, Bosnia, or the country of his parents roots, Serbia? Is he ready to set aside any hard feelings about his treatment by the U.S. Under-20 national team  and play for the country where his soccer skills were discovered?

You shouldn’t hold your breath for a decision. Subotic has stated repeatedly that he won’t entertain a decision until after this European season, which means he will likely choose a country next summer. He is in no rush since he won’t turn 21 until Dec. 10, 2009. FIFA rules mandate that a player with multiple options who has already appeared for the youth setup of one of their options must decide by their 21st birthday.

What do you think of the Subotic situation? Share your thoughts below.


  1. for those saying that in serbia he will have the euuros, but it usually helps if your country qualifies for the tournament, something serbia didn’t do in 2008 or 2004.

  2. Ives – I am NOT referring the Carlisle article but the one from Andrea last night on Goal. Several others have already asked for the link to THAT article in which Germany indicated that it would NOT challenge FIFA’s decision.

    That is what I was referring to. Hope this clarifies.

  3. Eric, Ives was right in that Germany was an option, and Subotic was pursuing it. FIFA is the one who has nixed the whole thing, not Germany or Subotic. And yes, if you read Jeff Carlisle’s article, Subotic clearly states that Rongen lied about his groin injury being the reason he didn’t select him, and was hurt by his criticism.

    Ives-1 John-0

  4. Danny – Please go the the ESPN website and read the article on Neven by Jeff Carlisle. In that article, you will see the precise quote you are seeking regarding Rongen’s comments.

    I, also, would liketo see the link to this story eludedto by other posters. I haven’t looked for it yet, but Ives, you gotta help us out here my man!

    You just can’t blindly make such a statement without attribution.

  5. I really hope Subotic chooses the U.S. We may be strong at center back with Demerit, Carlos and Gooch all playing at a high level but none of those guys are going to be in the running for 2014. With Neven you have a strong center back to build your defense around. I get really excited thinking about a Subotic/Spector center back pairing in 2014.

  6. And European Championships aside, I’m not so certain that the “guarantee” of a WC place by playing for the US is necessarily the huge selling point that people make it out to be. Presumably he’s a competitor and enjoys competition and challenge, no?

  7. John, I’m half with you…

    I’m really lost understanding the Subotic story, why it happened (thanks Jon and g-loff for the most useful stuff). We were told all summer that Germany was going to happen, no need to talk about it any more. I would have appreciated analysis closer to what you put in on the Beckham/Milan story for a possible important USMNT player, and thought it was kind of lame to not get a better explanation for the sudden reversal.

    On the hard feelings for the coach, of course Subotic is going to tell a reporter “no” when asked directly. That statement doesn’t debunk or clarify anything for me.

  8. John, with all due respect, can you please show me where I wrote he was a shoe-in for Germany? I wrote that he was pursuing Germany as an option and that Germany was in play. Ultimately FIFA decided he couldn’t play for Germany, but the fact remains that Subotic was pursuing that option.

    And John, you can go ahead and accept Subotic’s recent explanation that he has no hard feelings about Rongen but he was quoted in the past discussing what happened and it was definitely an issue in the past. Maybe he got over it, but just because you accept his recent explanation doesn’t mean we have to accept it and ignore his past comments.

  9. downplaying that kids talent (not a sure starter, maybe not as good as demerit spector) is like saying we didnt “need” rossi cause hes no eddie johnson.

    i guess i can understand the premise of “if he doesnt WANT to play for us”- but its not like we are begging guys who go out of their way to say they hate america or something.

    make no mistake- the kid is very, very good. it would be incredibly good for our team if he chooses to play for us. but i do see it very similar to rossis situation- i understand he has a choice to make. its going to be ok with me whatever he decides (and ill be seriously hoping its for us).

    but to downplay the talent level, how much he could help our team is foolish.

  10. all very good points, Ives. Germany clearly wanted Subotic and he turned them down. If he’s going to turn down a team like that, the team right behind them(at least in rankings and overall ability) would be the USA. But i truly believe that he wants to get playing time and somehow appear on the World Cup stage. So I say he picks US because he has be come a mature athlete and was smart enough to realize that his playing time for Germany wouldn’t be all that great.

  11. Justin, good point about the EC. It still ain’t the WC. Who knows. And really, we have no clue about how he feels about being an American, either. We are trying to climb inside the mind of a guy none of us really know.

  12. Serbia currently sits atop their group with 9 points, tied in points with Lithuania. France, Austria, Romania each have 4. Obviously many games to be played, but if they maintain first place, they are in. If they get second (I suppose they could tank and not make top two in group, but unlikely), they have a chance to be 8 of the nine 2nd place teams playing for the remaining 4 spots. Here is how FIFA puts the qualifying:

    When the group phase of European Zone qualifying reaches its conclusion on 14 October 2009, the nine section winners will be guaranteed a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africaâ„¢. Thereafter, the eight best runners-up will compete in two-legged play-offs, with the continent’s four remaining tickets to the world finals at stake.

    Group 9 consists of five teams, one less than the other pools. When calculating the best runners-up, therefore, matches played against the sixth-placed finishers in Groups 1 to 8 will not be taken into consideration. The criteria will be as follows;

    – Total points

    – Goal difference

    – Goals scored

    – Goals scored away from home

    – Disciplinary record *

    – Drawing of lots

    * Yellow card, -1 point; two yellow cards in the same match, -3 points; red card, -3 points; yellow card followed by a direct red card in the same match, -4 points.

    The four European Zone play-offs will take place in November 2009

    If Serbia can soon guarantee 1st place status, I (with my vast and superior knowledge of the inner thoughts of Mr. Subotic) would think it a strong temptation to go with them. His father’s people (so I understand) and a world stage. And he seems to be agreable with a European existence. However, if they languish in 2nd, the next qualifying doesn’t start till the Fall of 09, and that is not guaranteed against good teams. The US at least is very likely to make the WC, has the COnfed. Cup.

    But what the crap do we really know? And why am I spending valuable time figuring this out? I have no clue.

    Neven, ich wuerde sehr gerne dass du mit deiner US-Kumpels in der WM spielst.

    But it ain’t my call.

  13. The Rongen rumor is false. Canales asked Subotic if he had hard feelings and he said he didn’t.

    Ives, I’m disappointed in you. I remember when you were making it out like he was a shoe in with Germany you responded very harshly to me saying that Germany wasn’t an issue.

    And know you are referring to an ‘issue’ with Subotic that was just debunked by one of you colleagues.

    Do you NOT want Subotic or something?

    Maybe I’m overreacting, but this whole Ashley Todd situation is making me very bitter towards journalists today. There is a lesson to be learned here though; do your research before writing!

  14. People always forget about the Euro championships in these discussions. They are HUGE, and he’ll never be able to participate if he chooses the US. Moreover, the qualifiers themselves, for both the Euros and the World Cup, are huge – some bigger than any matches the US plays apart from the World Cup and the away qualifier in Azteca. And the Euro qualifiers, for example, start right after the World Cup. If he chooses the US, he’ll literally have to wait years for an interntaional match of any signifcance once a World Cup ends.

    So, country allegiances aside, UEFA is far far more interesting to compete in than CONCACAF.

    And I can’t imagine an ethnic Serb every picking Bosnia over Serbia, so we’re defimitely talking about the US or Serbia here.

  15. i wonder if somehow these comments end up being read by mr. subotic himself.

    the espn article and various stuff about him surely should have somehow ended up in his inbox, you would imagine.

  16. He’s not going to start for US or Serbia in the near future, so I’m sure he’ll factor in other things.

    I’m American, but there are several compelling arguments for Serbia:

    1. More exposure to European managers

    2. Less travel

    3. Something major to play for pretty much every year with WC, Euros, and qualifying for each of those

    I’m assuming here he’d pick Serbia over Bosnia b/c they have a better shot at qualifying for said tournaments, plus the fact that ethnicity trumps birthplace in that area of the world.

  17. Someone correct my summary if I am wrong, but here goes:

    Rongen essentially singled out Subotic, while he was with Mainz and before he got significant playing time there, as a player that was not progressing well. This was after a friendly in the lead-up to the U-20 World Cup in Canada, 2007. He left Subotic off the roster and instead took Julian Valentin, a collegiate at the time, as his starting CB alongside Sturgis.

    The professional trajectories of Subotic and Valentin have pointed to most that Rongen was a fool in his decision. In my opinion, if Subotic had spent the U-20s with Adu, Altidore, Szetela, Sturgis, Bradley, Seitz, etc., all current or potential future NT guys, there would be little or no question to his loyalty.

  18. I can see the kid waiting to see how European qualifying shakes out. Assuming his goal, like any other player’s, is to play in the World Cup, he’ll pick the side that gives him the best opportunity of getting there. If only the US looks assured of qualification for 2010, he’ll soon be flying across the atlantic next to M. Bradley for matches.

  19. I’m not worried about it. I’m not convinced he would have a starting spot, and I don’t know that he’s really that much better than a healthy DeMerit or Spector. Besides, if he’s too soft to handle Rongen’s criticism, I have doubts as to whether I even want him to play for the U.S.

  20. Add me to the list of people who really hope that Subotic chooses the United States. I have not seen him play much, but he’s starting for a Bundesliga side and is a top prospect.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he could step in tomorrow and start alongside Gooch, with Boca on the left. Heath Pearce is clearly the weak link in the defense right now among Boca, Gooch, and Cherundolo.

  21. I hope he chooses the U.S.

    Having said that, I can’t blame him for wanting to play for his birth nation. I have no problem with that.

    I mean, it isn’t like he’s choosing his father’s country or anything like that.

  22. we need another solid CB to play in a 3 man back line. With the infulx of center midfielders over the past few years(bradley,klejstan,edu,torres,clark) a 3 man back line may be the way to go

  23. jason- reason why germany is out of the running…

    he didnt have germany citizenship when he played for the US youth teams…. seeing as he’s played for our youth team, he can only play for countries he’s entitled to citizenship… being USA, serbia and Bosnia…

    personally, id rather the kid just make up his mind…. i do not want to grovel to get players to represent this country…. if he has ANY hope of playing in WC10′ he’s got to commit soon and get some intl’ games under his belt…

    i still dont understand the fullness of the U20 debacle…. did anything happen outside of what Rogen stated?? b/c to me it sounded like rogen stated that Subotic hasnt developed as fast as they’d hoped and they decided to bring someone else they thought was more suitable at the time…???

    this is life, no?? as a professional he may join a team where a coach feels someone is more suitable…nothing to stomp your feet about… IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORDED BETTER, but seriously not that bad…. there were feelings prior if this has any backing to his harbored thoughts

  24. Eric,

    If I remember correctly, Germany was trying to figure out if they had a legal way to offer him a passport. I assume they could not do that, and that is the reason he cannot play for Germany.

  25. This got blocked by a spam filter, so let me try again:

    The explanation is–among other places–in an Andrea Canales story at [another site]. As I understand it, it’s essentially that if a player plays in a FIFA competition for any flavor of national team (including youth), FIFA regulations state that he cannot play for any other national team for which he didn’t already have citizenship when he played in that competition.

    So, when Subotic played youth Nat games, he wasn’t a German citizen, and so Germany is out. He did have citizenship in Serbia & Bosnia, so those are still possibilities for him.

  26. It’s cool if Subotic picks Bosnia or Serbia cause he got screwed by our coaches. We want him, but no hard feelings regardless his decision…

  27. Rocky — sorry, I have to disagree with you. Subotic picking the USA will not move Boca, our captain, to the bench. It may move him to left back, which isn’t a bad option as long as Boca continues to play there for Rennes and gets comfortable playing there. I like Heath Pearce, but I think he should be a LB/LM option off the bench rather than a starter.

  28. If he does pick us then a backline for the future that would be deadly would be:

    Wynne on the right

    Gooch-Subotic center back pairing

    Beasley on the left

    Speed on the flanks and power in the middle

  29. I really think hes going to choose the USA. Lets face it, he obviously wants to play in world cups, and it certainly isnt a lock that Bosnia or Serbia will ever make it through in Europe. A Gooch-Subotic center back pairing would be top class, and it would move Boca to the bench where he can supply a valuble option off the bench when needed. BB needs to really step it up and do everything he can to get Subotic to play for us. I really believe we got a great shot

  30. There’s a good chance that Subotic may make his mind up before the summer.

    We do play in the Confederations Cup… and that’s not a bad tournament to showcase in.

  31. Bocanegra is more suited for the LB role than he is for the RB. He’s left footed and that’s where he plays at the club level.

    Here’s what I want to know: Why is Germany off his list? What happened?

    I cannot believe international soccer has been reduced to some form of college recruiting. Part of me wants to send the house and recruit the kid but the other part of me is thinking, “Who cares? It’s not like our defense is hurting. If he doesn’t want to wear the Red, White and Blue that’s fine. But why bother asking someone to represent a country that they don’t want to?”

    Can we please get a call up for Jeremiah White?!?!

  32. thanks for the update ives! i think any of the three countries left would gladly take him. I hope he chooses the usmnt, but who knows. i would like to see him and gooch in the middle of our defense. this kid is pretty good with the ball. doesnt just kick the ball downfield.

    anyways, if he decides to play for the usa, great! if not, oh well. the decision is out of our control.

  33. Fingers crossed that he chooses the USA. But will his heart ever be in it? No matter what team he chooses it won’t be his first preference.

  34. Johnny, I don’t believe Bocanegra has ever played RB in his professional or international career.

    Subotic will end up with the U.S. There’s a reason why we now have the term “balkanized” in our lexicon.

  35. He can be guaranteed a roster spot at the next World Cup if he chooses the U.S. Let’s be honest.

    If it’s Serbia or Bosnia, he’ll be on the team, but the team may not make it to S. Africa.

    He’s got a tough choice, and by now, a monkey on his back if he comes Stateside.

  36. Really wish he would pick a country. Getting tired of this kid already. Yeah I know what he could bring to our team but if his heart is not in it why go through all the damn trouble?

  37. I would love to have him on our team! Who knows what he’ll do though, Gooch and Boca still have 4-5 years left right? That might play into things seeing how Subotic probably has realized how Bradley LOVES to play his younger players lol.

  38. If Mr. Subotic waits until the end of December 2009 to decide who to play for, that will leave few games in which to integrate with the rest of his team before South Africa.

    He should make his decision by the end of 2008. That way he will have time to play friendlies during the winter break.

    And he should play for USA!

  39. I’m probably in the minority, but now that Germany is out of the running, I don’t care who Subotic chooses to represent. Given all the players that have represented the US, despite not having a strong association with the US, it would be OK with me if he represented Bosnia or Serbia.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for Subotic to represent the US. But, given that he was “discovered” by the US youth program, if he wants to walk away due to the U20 experience, I was ok with him representing another country, as long as it wasn’t Germany.


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