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Hating Giuseppe Rossi

Giuseppe Rossi ( 

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Admit it, you hate Giuseppe Rossi.

If you are a U.S. national team fan this morning you are cursing Rossi and have included him in the group along with Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Oswaldo Sanchez and Jared Borghetti in the pantheon of most hated U.S. national team opponents.

I say go ahead and hate him. You are allowed.

Having written more about Rossi through the years than most (I broke the story of Rossi's move to Manchester United from Parma many moons ago) I have written columns explaining Rossi's decision to play for Italy and why he made that choice, and why people shouldn't blame him for his decision.

That does not mean U.S. fans can't hate him.

International soccer is professional soccer, which is professional sports, and in the passionate world of pro sports, hating athletes is a way of life and a sign of respect and it isn't something any fan should be made to feel ashamed of. As Reggie Jackson once famously said, "Fans don't boo nobodies."

Most U.S. fans don't hate Rossi simply because he didn't choose to play fo the USA, the hate stems from the fact that Rossi is a special talent, a once-in-a-generation player who has qualities never seen in an American player before. If it were simply about not playing for the USA then Americans fans would have much more hate for Edgar Castillo, who not only chose another country but chose arch-rival Mexico. As it stands, Castillo goes largely ignored by American fans, an afterthought who only recently came back into the picture now that a FIFA rule change could allow him to play for the United States.

Rossi's defenders are correct that there is some hypocrisy in hating Rossi for his decision but accepting other players who choose the USA over their countries of birth. This is true, but in none of those instances is a transcendant player snubbing their native country for the USA. That doesn't make any of it right, but those are the facts. Ghana is getting along just fine without Freddy Adu and Germany won't miss Jermaine Jones. Yes, the U.S. national team is still pretty good without Rossi, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say the United States would have beaten Italy on Monday if Rossi were wearing an American uniform.

Would it be better if U.S. fans could embrace and appreciate Rossi as an American product the way some African fans embrace their countrymen who choose to play for other countries? Of course it would, but the difference is that in many of those African instances, the native fans have spent years reading about the development of those players so they develop an attachment to them and identify with them. In Rossi's case, U.S. fans heard little about him as he came through the ranks and few were aware of his existence before he broke out with Parma after going on loan from Manchester United.

Hating Rossi is a natural reaction, but folks should temper the hatred. I now people don't always mean what they say when writing anonymously on the internet, but folks wishing death on Rossi and his family have let emotions get the best of them. In the end, we are talking about a game. Rossi's decision will probably cost the U.S. team victories, but it hasn't cost anybody their life.

Nobody HAS TO hate Rossi. If you played against him growing up, or knew him from his Clifton days, and seeing him succeed gives you a sense of pride, then go right ahead and support him and enjoy his success. That said, nobody should criticize the American fans who don't feel the same about Rossi.

If you are a U.S. fan who hates Rossi, I won't tell you not to, but I will say that you can feel free to take some of that energy and spend it on the American players who wore the USA shield on Monday. Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan didn't have the impact Rossi had on Monday, but they all played well enough to make USA fans proud.

Many American soccer fans hate Rossi and will hate him for a long time, at the very least until another American player comes along who is as good as he is. Something tells me Rossi can take it. He should be able to. It is part of the deal that comes with being a professional athlete, and part of the deal that comes with breaking the hearts of an entire country's fans.


  1. I’ve known a score of pro athletes, including Rossi. He is an unselfish, level headed kid. If you knew him, it would be impossible to hate him.


  2. ok well look you cannot blame Rossi for going to the better team. he just did what he thought was the logical thing to do. He is not American he is Italian. “American” is just a label that means nothing. It means something when you are and want to carry it. I was born in the U.S but that does not make me american. I consider myself canadian and only that. I will not carry a label that i am not proud to carry and do not love.
    Rossi is free to decide what he wants to be.

    Rossi did not ask to be born here it was just that it happened. He is all Italian and i am happy for the guy. He has a bright future ahead of him.

    All of you losers should just shut up and leave him alone. He has decided his fate and there is nothing to do. Sitting here and bitching about the what if isnt going to change anything.

    Another thing stop hating mexico. sour pussess!

    Another thing Donovan its called a hair transplant! idiot! ohh and while your at it get a brain one two.

  3. Giuseppe is a great player, he should be a man about it and renounce his ties to the US. He made his call to return to the fatherland to play for the national team. He can celebrate and show his pride all he wants once the makes the choice to be only an Italian citizen.

    On another note, oh my US 2 BRA 0! It is going to be a long painful 60 minutes watching the real American team trying to hang on!

  4. Hi is entitled to play with the team of his choice given his dual citizenship. It stings that he was born and raised in the U.S. and we cannot benefit from his homegrown talent.

    I would be easier if he were playing for an underdog and we could rationalize his decision and not view is as unpatriotic but given that he plays for italy it can come across as both unpatriotic and opportunistic.

    Go Team USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I can’t believe how many cry babies are out there. What’s with all this hate? I am amazed that those who call themselves soccer fans are so shallow and ignorant. Enjoy the game! Enjoy his talent! One of our own is actually playing for one of the best teams in the world. How can you fault him? He is a professional and should not settle for mediocrity. We would not want less from a doctor, a lawyer, etc. There is so much jealousy concerning him. How many foreigners have taken part with US teams? Giuseppe is not a traitor, as some of you described him, he is caring, respectful and always a gentlmen. I wish I could say the same for all the people who posted these nasty comments.


    Giuseppe, may God bless you.

  6. I can’t understand the furor and the fuss. Rossi made a professional decision. He is playing for one of the best teams in the world and should be lauded. Soccer in the US is still in its infancy stage and should not expect players such as Rossi to play here professionally. We all strive to do our best and not simply be mediocre. Why should it not be so for him? As for those who call him traitor, it is obvious you are letting your feelings get ahead of you. You are not thinking rationally. I would assume that if you don’t buy American you, also, should be considered an enemy of the state. The kid is talented, he is a gentleman and above all, very respectful. We are jealous, we would like to see him play for us, but we forget that he has been playing in Italy since he was 13. Get over the hate and enjoy the game (if you are a real fan). Let the kid play and enjoy his career. May God keep him focused and his family well.

  7. It’s ‘football’ not ‘soccer’ and Rossi decided to play for Italy because they are a ‘good’ team, the US team will never ever be one of them a lot of your players are extremely poor and would be lucky too get a League 2 club in England and one of your apparent best player Jozy Altidore is a donkey up front, I’m surprised he can even finish his dinner let alone a chance from 8 yards.

  8. I think that if they choose to play in another country, then they should first get citizenship in that country. If this country sucks so bad that they need to go represent another country then they should go live and retire there and have their kids grow up there and all. As the son of Mexican born parents(and I say born because one is arabic by background and the other is polish) I was born here and this is my country. I could never ever dream of representing another country. This is the country that gave my parents the opportunity to have a safer and better life. I don’t even care that he scored on us twice, I’m personally offended by his decision to turn his back on the country that gave him his training and gave him the position he is in today. That offends me as an AMERICAN. That said, if he feels no pride toward this flag and country then he has all the right to do whatever he wants. Sadly that’s the materialistic culture we have developed. Finally the worst part is if all these great players would have more pride than selfishness then obviously the USMNT would be sooooo much better and more of the talent would want to stay here thinking we’d have a better chance to win. But since each consecutive talent we produce leaves, then we’re never going to be good, and they will never want to stay. The rule that allows you to play for the country where your parents grew up sadly hurts us most of all seeing as how we are a nation of immigrants.

  9. Let him celebrate all he wants he has the right to do it. He scored two great goals coming from the bench. Doesn’t matter where he was born, he is representing the country that gave him everything football has to offer. At least he showed Lippi he wants to play not like some of the US players.

  10. THis is not a case of your aging quarterback or center or favorite power hitter leaving for playing time or money (Favre/Shaq/ any MLB star). It’s fun to hate those kind of players. No, this is a slap in the face. He loves the Azurri? Then you would love the chance to play against them and possibly beat them in these International matches. But you represent YOUR team in YOUR country. The worst part is, the USMNT have been needing a NJ based offensive minded STRIKER ever since Tab Ramos took an elbow to the face courtesy of Dunga. Rossi was that guy, but the little worm decided that if the US is going to ever achieve world class success, it will be without him. Fine. I hope Italy chokes next year.

    Btw, if Arena really is partly to blame for this, then that’s just another reason to hate that S.O.B. too.

  11. Come to think of it, watching it again, who wouldn’t celebrate like that after scoring a 30-yard strike like that? And he looked excited, but he still didn’t run to the fans, and he ran straight back to the center circle. He didn’t milk any applause or dive into adoring Italians, he excitedly ran about after scoring an amazing goal. After his second he basically hugged his teammates and that’s about it. all the outrage over over-celebrating must view most celebrations as over-celebrating.

  12. This is probably a dead end thread, but I will post this anyway: I officially recant, I repent of my “hatred” of Rossi. It is just plain silly to hate the guy, even for sport. For what it’s worth. Time to move on. 🙂

  13. The Podolski comparison is not the same thing. Like it or not, Rossi’s family clearly view themselves as Italians who happen to live in America. Not every family who moves here from another country is going to assimilate to the degree that they view themselves as American. There are many Americans in Europe who don’t view themselves as European. It’s not for anyone but themselves to decide what their identity is. To try and deign that someone else should believe themselves to be American rallies against the entire belief that you can choose what you want to be in this country. He was raised to see himself as Italian.

    Podolski, on the other hand, was born and raised in Poland and half of his family are Poles, while the other half I believe are Aussielders. His family was in the stand cheering for Poland and he gave that as the primary reason he didn’t cheer. He also wanted to represent them at some point, because he viewed himself as Polish. So he viewed himself as a Pole, his family consider themselves Poles, and he wanted to play for them because of his own feelings of identity. Whether you like it or not, Rossi doesn’t view himself as American, his family doesn’t view themselves as American. If you want to dictate what someone should feel…..well go ahead, I’m not going to change your mind. But again, it’s not for anyone but the individual to decide what someone identifies themselves as.

  14. My friend is a huge hockey fan and fantastic hockey player. He just moved to England, from Canada, for work.

    If his kid starts developing in hockey, where do you think he’ll send him to play? He’d probably send him “home” here, live with grandma, and have a chance to become world class (which would never happen in UK). And IF he had a chance to play for team Canada or UK….which one do you think he’d “chose”?


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