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The lowdown on Dan Potts

DanPotts (Getty)

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.


  1. “True Americans” What makes one a “True American” Dumbest post I have ever seen. ANyone that has citizenship with the United States of America is a “True American.” If a Soccer Player has citizenship to this contry and wants to represent the U.S. and is good enough to represent the U.S. then they have every right to follow their dreams. I welcome any player that wants to represent the U.S. and win a WC regarless if they were born in the U.S. or not. I can give dozens of past U.S. players that weren’t born in the U.S. but went on to represent our great Nation. There have been many Olympians that were born outside of the U.S. as well that have represented our country in the Olympics

  2. I didn’t say Cunningham is playing consistenly for Molde. I said he is lined up to be seeing a lot of first team minutes next season. Considering they will be playing on three fronts.
    Pelosi is a LW or LB, and he has made headlines at LB recently for Liverpool. In fact it goes on to say that his barn storming runs down the left have been amazing. But yes Liverpools Academy has been playing him in many different positions, but it seems he has turned heads at LB.
    I also agree that F.Johnson needs to be played at LB for the nats.

  3. He made an emergency start or two for West Ham. That is not the same as being any kind of regular player.

    If he plays the next 10 -15 games or so then you have an argument.

    You are being way too premature.

  4. His dad played for one of England’s Under whatever teams but that was enough in those days to keep him from playing for the US.

    Steve Potts never played for the senior England team.

    I think you are correct, based on what I’ve read, he accepted the Under 20 invite because he was curious and because Lletget is his buddy but an England cap is first on his list.

  5. If he is already playing for west ham, then he should get an automatic call to the olympics. No one else in the U-23 team plays at a higher level.

    Unless we can get miguel ponce from chivas, this kid needs a look!

  6. While I would love to see him play for us, given he has lived his whole life in England and his father even played for England I am not sure he would want to play for the US. Honestly the only way he might choose to play for the US would be if he were not good enough to play for England. So lets all hope the star align.

  7. You exaggerate.

    David Beckham, Messi and Ronaldo can’t ever play for the US even if they wanted to.

    There are rules. They just are not quite to your liking. And the US has some pretty stringent rules about passports

    Did you know that foreign green card holders (not US citizens) have been in the armed forces for the US and fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Did you know that these dual nationals cannot play for the USMNT until they actually have a US passport and there are no expediting those, athlete or not.

    So it is possible to fight and die for the US without having a passport but you object to guys with a valid passport playing a little soccer for the US.

    Love your sense of outrage there Nick,

  8. Sabella,

    Except that you haven’t been able to.

    Why did you fire BB and hire JK?

    US programs have been in place now for about 30 years (with considerable foreign help and input, before the dual national thing).

    Fire JK , ban the dual nationals, and bring back all our young players from foreign develoment programs. Bring guys like Pelosi,Gatt,Corona, Garza, etc. from foreign teams.

    Oh and ban Howard, Dempsey, Dolo, Boca ,etc.,etc. from playing for the USMNT unless they move to MLS.

    Do all that and then tell me how well you think we stack up for 2014, 2018 and beyond.

    This is not about being PC. As you sit there writingon your chinese made keyboard, in your chinese made clothesd, tell me do you think America went to the moon, developed the A bomb, fostered the computer age strictly on American intellect and brain power?

  9. Is not like they go looking for the highest bidder, you have to understand, especially as an American who is exposed to this, that when you have roots in multiple places other than your own it is very possible to have ties to said countries.

    I’m not saying Potts does, but that is the main reason why the dual nationality rules exist in FIFA, and why they allow players to represent other than the ones they were born in, so you’re wrong when you make the assumption of player’s being able to play for any country when you ask what the point of national teams are. They can only play for the country of their parents, their grand parents or if they have lived in a country and have become citizens according to whatever laws they have for Naturalization of Citizenship.

  10. Wow, you know-nothing, maybe we can field a team of White Anglo Saxons Prostestants from New England some day. Will that make you happy?


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