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U.S. Soccer: Subotic will play for Serbia

Neven Subotic ( 

                                                                                    Photo by

At this time of year, you can usually expect your share of Christmas and other holiday cards in your mailbox. U.S. Soccer received a correspondence that was neither cheery or good news. On Dec. 22, the USSF received a letter from Neven Subotic informing U.S. Soccer that he will be playing for the Serbian national team, U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe confirmed to SBI on Wednesday.

Thus ends U.S. Soccer's hopes to land Subotic, who went from Bosnian immigrant and unknown soccer player to U.S. youth national team player to European star, and now to Serbian national team player. a fringe U.S. youth player just three years ago, Subotic has rapidly risen to become one of the best young defenders in European soccer, starring for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga at the age of 20.

"We wish Neven all the best and success in the future," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said.

Subotic played in four matches with the U.S. Under-17 national team at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, earning a red card in a round of 16 loss to the Netherlands. He made a total of 12 appearances with the U.S. Under-17 national team, starting five matches. He scored one goal, in his first appearance, against Australia in the 2004 Nike Friendlies.

Subotic played two matches with the U.S. Under-20 national team, but was left off the roster for the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. He never represented the U.S. national team again.

Subotic's decision will be a tough one to take for U.S. national team fans, particularly after comments made by Subotic in this interview with U.S. Soccer in 2006.

The above photo is the best one I could find of Subotic in a U.S. national team uniform. Feel free to print it out and tape it to your dartboard.

In all seriousness, Subotic, a native of Bosnia, will now play for the nation of his father's birth, which just happens to boast one of the most talented young teams in Europe, a national team currently leading a World Cup qualifying group that includes France.

It won't be easy news to take, but American fans should also remember that the U.S. national team has benefited from foreign-born players who chose the United States over their native countries, such as Roy Wegerle, Earnie Stewart, Thomas Dooley, Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden. It probably doesn't help that three players who theoretically could have wound up playing for the United States (Subotic, Giuseppe Rossi and Vedad Ibisevic) happen to be three of the hottest young prospects in Europe.

What do you think about this unfortunate news? Think Subotic is making a mistake? Are you not surprised that he chose Serbia? Are you just glad it's finally over so we can move on? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I will leave you with this , Fifa needs to investigate how much was put in the account by the Serbian Govt/Soccer federation! Enough said !

  2. Gooch, average player in an average European team! Impressive. At least Serbia have never lost against usa, and with or without Subotic, that won’t change in the future.

  3. Did Serbia with the help of MONTENGRO get raped by argentina 6-0, when was the last time that the US lost like that to argetina? one can argue 4-1 in copa america but that was even the US C team. Serbia blows and they will not mnake the world cup.

    GLad he is gone, why would US fans want him anyway, He is only in it for the $$$$, if he wasnt then he would have waited to play on the serbia u20 team not the US, he just does what so many illegal UNgrateful immigrants do, us the US for there benifit and jump ship the moment there bitch calls.

    US is bigger than one crap player, Gooch would squash him with his pinkey

  4. Some of you are acting like it’s 1992 and us getting Thomas Dooley is our only chance of being a decent team in the 1994 World Cup.

  5. All those comments shows that americans don’t like Serbia and the Serbs, so instead of being angry, be happy that a Serb won’t join your squad!

  6. You guys, flippin out like schoolgirls who watched the other girl get the guy, are acting as if Subotic and Rossi were the proverbial “missing pieces” to winning the 2010 World Cup. By the time the US can actually claim to be a favorite to win the cup, the whole drama surrounding Subotic and Rossi will be a distant memory. If we are counting on two 20 year olds for world soccer supremacy, we have more problems than we thought.

    You guys are acting like we missed out on the second comings of Beckenbauer and Batistuta for God sakes. Besides these 2 players didnt come good until they left the US so stop fooling yourselves into thinking we “produced” these players. Want someone to get mad at. How bout A-Rod who decides to play for the Dominican Republic AFTER he already played for the USA in the WBC. Yeah thats right. Playing for a country he has never lived in. Now thats something to be angry about

  7. Wait, you mean . . the messiah has decided to play for Serbia rather than USA? Waaaaahhhh!!! Waaaaahhhhh!!! Waaaaahhhhh!!!

  8. I’m sure glad that Gulati kept reassuring us this was not true!

    Speaks wonders for USSF’s credibility…..

  9. I love US Soccer as much as anyone and am deeply disappointed by Subotic’s decision. But, the Rossi-Subotic haters out there are just plain sad and pathetic. I used to think American soccer fans were fairly progressive and intelligent compared to your average football or baseball fan…I guess I was wrong.

  10. You guys seriously need to chill out. Neven Subotic was not born in the United States, he owes nothing to the United States. He was a refugee in this country, I don’t understand how some of you think that he owes us something.

    He is not Bosnian, yes he was born in Bosnia, but if you know anything about the Balkans there was no way in hell he was ever going to represent Bosnia, he is a Bosnian Serb, therefore he is Serbian through and through. The only players that represent Bosnia internationally are pretty much Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Croats go to Croatia and the Bosnian Serbs go to Serbia.

    I am a Croatian-American, born in America, spent a decent amount of time in Croatia, I don’t think anybody that isn’t from the region understands the nationalism and patriotism that exists there. I am an American, but I have been brought up to be as proud as any Croat that lives in Zagreb. If I ever was good enough that I had to choose an international nationality, it would be a painstaking decision as I identify with both countries just as much. If they played each other in a WC, I don’t know what I would do.

    I am as big of a USMNT fan as anyone, trust me on this, but my heart would be utterly torn over which side to play for, though ultimately I believe it would be the US because I was born here and grew up here. Neven did not, cut him some slack. Rossi you can criticize, but seriously you know how proud Italian-Americans are, and how they identify themselves as complete Italians, I really think people shouldn’t be so harsh on him.

    Being from multiple countries, I really think it comes down to what country you identify with. And those of you who talk this rubbish we employ their parents, we gave him a chance, he was a refugee in our country, etc, etc, that is such a load of rubbish it sounds like classic Rebublican propaganda honestly.

  11. Unbiased opinion: He had mixed allegiances, it’s difficult to choose, he chose to represent the nation of his father’s birth and his ethnicity. It’s not easy, we’ve benefited from some decisions the other way. Good luck
    Biased opinion: F him. Reacted immaturely to some perceived snub. Have fun sitting on the bench behind superior players. Serbia ahead of the US of A? Haha See you in South Africa (oh wait, not)
    Goodbye NEVEN

  12. We aren’t short of central defenders, so its hard for me to be too upset.

    But it would have been nice to have him. He’s more talented than either of our current top pair.

    Neven made the right choice for himself though. Bradley is going to stick with his comfort zone, whereas Serbia were offering him a spot next to Vidic, a top flight CB, in the starting 11 of a team with a lot of talent.

    No more pining though. We will still have a very good group of 18 come 2010.

  13. “U.S. national team has benefited from foreign-born players who chose the United States over their native countries, such as Roy Wegerle, Earnie Stewart, Thomas Dooley, Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden.”

    Of those, only Freddy chose the U.S. rather than playing for Ghana. The rest were not wanted by the countries of their birth. I suppose Holden could have worked his way in to Scotland, but it would have been tough. The others weren’t asked by their home country, so they chose us instead.


    Why would anyone think USSF takes soccer seriously , when they hired BOB. Bob may be a great guy, but he is NOT A WORLD CLASS COACH.

  15. its only fair to Serbia to get Neven. I mean they managed to lose all their territories the past 15 years, atlast they get to keep a player 🙂

  16. Well, as I said previously, it would have been nice to pick him up, but if he doesn’t want to play for us, then my response is “Next…” We already have solid talent, and there’s always somebody else.

    I think Subotic will later regret his decision, but that is just my opinion. Serbia will always play second fiddle in Europe to Germany, The Netherlands, England, Spain, etc. The main highlights of his career will now come from club play. Again, my call out of Group 7 in Europe: France and Romania. See you in the 2014 WC Serbia…maybe.

  17. Who cares. Hopefully he’ll feel crappy about it while he’s sitting at home watching the U.S. in the world cup.

  18. bah humbug! have fun stupid serbia is awful and most likely won’t make it to another WC (unless of course, they host one, but lets be real) because of the traditional powerhouses and developing European countries in UEFA . Awful decision, but I’m glad this is finally over. Merry Christmas!

  19. I really would like to hear an interview with Subotic on what changed from when he did the linked interview in 2006 and now. He was very definite about representing the U.S. in the interview. It would be nice to hear his reasons.

    Although it’s a shame that he didn’t choose his adopted country, some of the comments are over the top. I ask you posters: if you were an ex-pat living in another country to earn a good living, and your children happened to be born there and grew up in that country, might you still like to see them play for the U.S. over the country you were working in?

  20. Some of you guys sound like real cry babies. He’s made his decision, time to move on. And will people stop bringing up the US tie against Italy. It’s pathetic the way people think that game actually proves something. Mexico’s tied Italy in two separate World Cups and have tied the Netherlands as well, and a lot of good those draws have done them. We aren’t an elite team. Let us start having some consistent quarterfinal or semifinal World Cup appearances before you guys start making us out to be the second coming of Brazil.

  21. well heck, let’s look at it from a perfectly reasonable perspective of travel alone. subotic obviously plans to make his living in Europe, either Germany or Italy. So fine.

    let’s look at just the first FIFA date with both Serbian and US qualifiers in 2009,

    Mar: Sat. 28
    Romania v Serbia 988 miles
    El Salvado v US 5766 miles (if we play in San Salvador again)

    That’s on the heels of a likely midweek trip to scenic Columbus (4152 miles) in February and a lovely two weeks in Carson (5679 miles) in January. So if Subotic took the US offer and was called up immediately, between Feb 1 and March 31, he would have put 31,194 miles into the old frequent flyer account, instead of the 1,976 he would book, right now, for Serbia. Plus, he would play all summer in either the Confederations Cup or the Gold Cup, giving no real rest the summer before a World Cup. the next time he would have more than two weeks off would be the summer of 2011. in that time, he would clock about 200,000 miles flying for the US. that’s a huge commitment. I’ve flown from DC to London for a meeting and been wrecked, I can’t imagine flying, playing a 90 minute match and then flying home in a three day window. over and over and over. while playing on the weekends.

  22. even if he joined US, his commitment to the our Red, White and Blue would be suspect to me. I agree with the sentiments that we want people who would go to the wall for our team, not potentially half ass it. It was clear he didn’t want to play for the US that badly.

  23. “Lets be real, the United States will win two World Cup’s before Serbia even wins one.”

    You are very realistic my friend! hahaha

  24. Pete, sorry I forget the great tradition of your soccer. It’s great to tie against Italy, who was playing with 10 players the majority of the game, and thanks to an own goal. I see you’re very proud for 1 point, that’s great for you. Can you also go back to the world cup 1998 to give me the last result between Serbia (as Yugoslavia) and USA please?
    I guess Subotic prefer to play FOOTBALL with world class player who weren’t in the world cup 2006 instead of playing SOCCERS with a team who can lose against Trinidad and Tobago. That’s pretty insane!

  25. In the big scheme of things, this decision means nothing. The United States will continue develop better and better players who want to play for our country. If anything, this is a great sign as to the potential of some of our youth players.

    People seem to forget that we are a relatively young soccer-playing nation, and that many of our best athletes choose different sports. As soccer grows in popularity, more and more of our great athletes will focus on soccer rather than going to football or basketball. We will get to the highest level. It is only a matter of time.

  26. I dont blame Sunil or BB completely, but do you really think this would have happened if a top world coach was here and not just an extension of Bruce. Heir Bruce’s legacy lives on. Didn’t we all just vote for change, WTF! We need to wipe out a whole generation of ghost. Thanks for your services, you are hurting us more than helping now.

  27. most people posting sound absolutely ridiculous. he doesnt owe you anything.

    also, serbia is way better than we are. their players actually PLAY for teams like PSV, Sevilla, Inter, Man U, Chelsea and Valencia. We get all excited when Clint Dempsey starts a couple times for Fulham, You guys are a joke.

  28. I’d like to see a real world-class national soccer federation – instead we’ve got the 3 stooges – Bob, Rongen and Sunil. We’ve got a 2nd rate domestic soccer league – signing injury prone wash-ups like Freddie Ljungberg, rather than under 30 talented 2 way players – like signing Steven Appiah, who according to Soccernet was looking for an MLS contract. Until we mature a bit and get more sophisticated, folks with options like Neven and Rossi will keep choosing Europe over the US.

  29. Lets be real, the United States will win two World Cup’s before Serbia even wins one. Bad decision, but its time to move on.

    And as far as those Serbian emerging talents, those world beaters, those that are so many to even name, everyone’s a superstar until they actually have to star.

    Hey Aco, with that defense should they even bother to play the world cup in 2010?? or should we just mail the trophy to serbia now??

    Hey who knows, maybe we could see a repeat of 2006?? Actually, thats whats more likely to happen, another repeat of 2006. A 6-0 thrashing by Argentina, lost to the netherlands and lost to the ivory coast. Not a single point. At least the USA tied the eventual world champions.

  30. Yeah, some (or most) of these comments are completely inane. To everyone saying that they hope he breaks his leg or tears an ACL, I wonder, what exactly did he owe you? He made a decision that was in his own best interest, not yours. Relax.

    And as far as the two talent pools compare, sorry to break it to some of you, but we don’t really come close. Their players get on the field consistently for sides like PSV, Valencia, Inter, Man U, Udinese, Chelsea and Sevilla. We get all excited when Clint Dempsey strings together a couple starts for Fulham. Please.

    Good luck to him, I say. And as much as it sucks that he chose Serbia, it’s probably a much better decision for his soccer career. Add to that the fact that he surely feels more comfortable in Europe, and it’s a no-brainer.

  31. WOW, who would’ve thought US fans were so insecure?

    As Ives already pointed out, the US has benefited from foreign players for a long, long time so I don’t see how some of you are so upset over this?

    And yes, Serbia is a much better team than the US (and possibly Mexico as well).

    You guys need to move on or go see a shrink cause you sound really pathetic.

  32. Given that one player after another is choosing NOT to play for the US, you have to start looking at what the USSF youth system is doing in its Youth National Team programs.

    I also think that the US ought to play a little hard ball on situations where players come as refugees, participate in our Youth systems – TAKING the place of a potential player who does want to play for the US – and then decide to play for another country.

    In those cases maybe we should look at revoking there resident status. If their “home country” is good enough to represent then I suppose its good enough to live there.

  33. Yet another disaster, courtesy of Rongen. What a joke TR was/is. Ruined DC United, ruined the U-20 National Team, now ruining the long-term future of the National Team. Is it too late to have ROngen deported?

  34. I want people to play for the USA who bleed red white and blue, not look at it as a business decision….

    good riddance…

  35. You guys know this kid has a myspace which he checks regularly…makes me sick that he has as favorites “US Soccer”…go leave your christmas wishes on him…

    he knew all along he wasn’t going to play for the US, so why not say it from the get go…unlike Rossi he did say it and I respect him for that…without the US he wouldn’t be crap…

  36. USSF tried, but it always seemed like the last place he would have wanted to play for was the US. Thinking about it, it was always someone else, whether Germany or Serbia. He has his reasons why he chose the way that he did, I am just glad it’s over. Thanks to the kid for making up his mind finally, unfortunately it wasn’t the US. As always good luck to the kid in his career and playing for Serbia.

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