While die-hard U.S. men's national team fans probably already have the lowdown on young West Ham United defender Dan Potts, the reaction to some tweets about the 17-year-old left back suggests that not everybody is aware of the story behind the latest promising foreign-born prospect eligible to play for the United States.
Potts is the son of West Ham United legend Steve Potts, a defender who played more than 500 matches for the Hammers, and someone who happened to be born in the United States. The elder Potts never got the chance to play for the U.S. national team due to being cap-tied by some youth national team appearances for England, but his place of birth has made his son Dan eligible to play for the United States.
Potts has emerged as hot prospect after being handed his first start for West Ham, and delivering a first-class performance against Barnsley. He earned another start in West Ham's 1-1 Boxing Day draw vs. Birmingham and held his own yet again.
As if Potts' story weren't already a good one, Potts also carries the storyline of having overcome leukemia, which he was diagnosed with at age 12.
Born and raised in England, Potts is eligible to play for the United States and England, but he has yet to be involved in the England youth setup. U.S. national team coaches were well aware of him and called him in earlier this year to a U.S. Under-20 camp, which he took part in.
No, Potts isn't cap-tied to the United States, and indications are that he is far from making a decision on which national team he will ultimately represent, but having impressed as a starter for West Ham at the age of 17, and having recently signed a new contract with the Hammers, it shouldn't be long before England coaches begin calling to make inquiries.
On the bright side, Potts has stated that he enjoyed his experience with the U.S. Under-20 team, and he counts West Ham teammate and U.S. Under-23 national team midfielder Sebastian Lletget as a friend (the two spot on the phone the day of Potts' first West Ham start).
For now, all U.S. fans can do is watch Potts develop and hope he ultimately chooses to play for the United States. Given the lack of left back options in the U.S. national team pool (from the senior level down to the lower youth levels), Potts is certainly someone who could potentially make an impact for the United States if he continues to develop, and if he chooses to play for the USA rather than playing for England.