His name is Aron Johannsson and he can't stop scoring goals. He is an Iceland Under-21 player who is reportedl starting to attract the attention of big European clubs by scoring goal after goal (rumors of interest from Arsenal have already surfaced). He has 11 in 11 matches for Danish side AGF Aarhus to be exact, an impressive number regardless of league.
So why should you even care about him aside from him potentially being targeted by your favorite European power? You might want to care because he was born in Alabama, where he lived for three years before spending most of his formative years in Iceland with his Icelandic parents (who were attending college in Alabama when he was born).
He hit the radar of American fans after scoring what might have been the fastest hat-trick ever (three goals in four minutes), and after giving an interview with the New York Times Goal blog last month, when he admitted that he would consider playing for the United States if he were called up by Jurgen Klinsmann.
“To tell the truth, I’ve never really thought about playing for the United States national team,” Johannsson told the Goal Blog. “I’ve lived in Iceland almost my whole life. I’ve always had it as a goal to play for the Icelandic national team. But if Jurgen Klinsmann calls me and says he wants me to play for the United States, then it would be pretty hard to say no. “
It sounded like a fairly political answer, and almost sounded like a message to the Iceland senior national team that they might want to give him a call before it's too late.
Iceland got the message, and that call came this week. Now Johannsson is faced with potentially being cap-tied to Iceland by playing in upcoming World Cup qualifiers later this month.
And if he does? USMNT fans can go ahead and get over it.
Would it be nice if another promising young prospect joined the U.S. national team pool? Sure, and we could certainly still have a case where he decides to either not accept the call-up, or doesn't wind up playing in one of those cap-tying qualifiers (and you can bet Klinsmann will think about making a call in that case). But if we don't, and if he puts on that Iceland shirt and joins current Russian League star Yura Movsisyan as a standout striker who could have been a U.S. national team striker under different circumstances?
So be it.
It isn't as if he was born and raised in the USA like a Giuseppe Rossi, or spent his formative years here and played for U.S. youth teams before dumping the USA for another national team like Neven Subotic. No, Johannsson is just a talented young player who gave a polite anwer to a question about whether he would consider playing for the USA (an answer he found himself backtracking on to European media almost immediately).
No, there's nothing wrong with dreaming about every single player in the world with an American tie choosing the USA. That's natural to want for every U.S. fan, especially when we see players like Subotic and Rossi go on to do well, but at the same time we shouldn't forget that there are some pretty good younger forward prospects in the U.S. pool, arguably more than ever. From Jozy Altidore to Terrence Boyd, to C.J. Sapong and Chris Pontius (and let's not write off Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo just yet).
Johannsson has the look of a difference maker, but if he doesn't pick the U.S. there won't be any reason to panic. It might sting a bit if he does develop into a star, but it might wind up being easier to deal with if players like Altidore and Boyd continue to impress and improve.
Losing out on Johannsson seems a very real possibility, but let's remember this. He stands to miss out on just as much, because while he may go on to club greatness, young U.S. forwards like Altidore and Boyd will be playing in World Cups.
I can understand why he might favor Iceland, but there’s nothing wrong with choosing the team that will give you the best chance at trophies and World Cup appearances.
Had some time on my hands….