Top Stories

Donovan offers supportive take on Wambach’s dual-nationals comments

9 Shares

Photo by Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports
Photo by Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

Following Abby Wambach’s comments on dual nationals representing the U.S., former LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan provided his take on the topic as well.

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s all-time leading goal-scorer and assist leader spoke with SiriusXM FC about Wambach’s comments and explained why he thinks some dual nationals may not care as much about representing the USMNT as players who have developed through the U.S. system.

“I’ll share something I shared with Jurgen when I got left off the team,” Donovan told SiriusXM FC. “I said, ‘Jurgen, I understand you’re allowed to make your choice and your decision, but there’s at least a few players that are on your World Cup roster that are going that don’t care in the same way I do. I grew up as a part of this whole system, and I feel like it is a part of me, and I think there’s players in that locker room who, if you go three-and-out in the World Cup, they’ll go back to their clubs teams and won’t even blink twice. Whereas, if we go three and out, I’ll be devastated.'”

Wambach recently said she would fire USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann if she was in charge of U.S Soccer, stating that Klinsmann has relied on “foreign” players, rather than developing a strong domestic youth system.

“When you play for your national team, like I watched (Wambach) during the World Cup, towards the end of the tournament, she didn’t play, but she was just as excited as everybody else,” Donovan said. “She saw the big picture and cared about what was going on for women’s soccer in America, and U.S. soccer in America.

“I think that’s where these (comments) come in…There’s so many talented players that have American connections, that it’s hard not to pull some of these guys in to play for our national team. And you can understand why, but at the end of the day, do they really feel it in the same way as Michael Bradley or Clint Dempsey or Matt Besler?”

“I wouldn’t feel as good about it if we had a team full of players that didn’t really grow up or really identify as being American,” he added. “It’s nothing against them. I mean, Fabian Johnson is as good of a player maybe in the Bundesliga right now, and I love him and he’s a nice kid. I love Jermaine (Jones)…and they’re good teammates. I like having them on the team, but if we had a team full of players like that, it just wouldn’t feel the same as if we developed a team that then went on and won a World Cup.”

What do you think of Donovan’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. so I just stumbled upon this article, and really haven’t read all the comments here. But just a bit of a history lesson/quiz for those that are in Abby’s or LD’s camp not his issue. What do the following all have in common? Ernie Stewart, Jeff Agoos, Thomas Dooley, Preki, Hugo Perez, Roy Wegerle, Fernando Clavijo, Brian Quinn and Frank Klopas? (I could continue, but I won’t). So, does anyone know? I wonder if Abby and LD know? I would hope so but not sure……………

    Reply
  2. So Donovan is saying that he ‘cares’ more about the national team but he decided to take a sabbatical during WC qualifying. Then you have the nerve to call out the sons of military vets by name. The same guys who have played more Champions League matches than anyone else currently in the pool. I remember seeing JJs emotion after that world class goal he had at the WC, no way you can tell me he doesn’t care. And Abby calling the kids of military vets ‘foreigners’ is completly outrageous and insulting. Hoping these two shut up before causing further embarrassment to themselves and US Soccer.

    Reply
  3. Landon cared abut the team so much that he went on a soul-searching sabbatical during qualifying. There are many ways to critique Klinsmann, and Landon should speak about those given his closeness to him at Bayern and then in the USMNT (tactics, adjustments, training methods, etc.), but this dual nationals thing is so old now. Many other countries do this, and it’s not for Abby Wambach or Landon Donovan to pretend that they know how much a player cares or doesn’t care about winning.

    Reply
  4. I have no problem with the dual nationals at all, never have. I also understand the perspective on the subject as it regards player development here in the states, and the dynamic forged as a US soccer player in America.

    this is not xenophobia, defined as “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.” Look, we have PLENTY real examples of that here in the USA, and I find it disgusting. But this? come on

    LD is standing up for the American home developed player, not hating others, not afraid of them…good grief. There’s a big difference. not difficult to understand at all, unless you don’t want to understand.

    the hate for LD has always been…nothing has changed there. Love it when he speaks up, especially because of all the consternation it causes so many of you. More power to him.

    now, to all you super pissed off folks, back to your regularly scheduled program. fire away at me. Rome’s mob would be proud!

    Reply
  5. Can Landon just go away. In the first place the women’s team doesn’t have the dual national problem of the men. To question someone’s patriotism is beyond reason like many of Landon’s comments since Jurgen left him off the the team. His form was poor. Everyone remembers his heroics in 2002 and 2010 but forgets the atrocity he was in 2006. Convey gets a lot of shite but watch every set piece that Landon took hit the wall and how many times he fluffed his lines while not playing defense. This whole buddhist sabbatical is absolutely corrupt because if it were genuine you be beyond your past.

    Brazil hurt Landon so much that he honestly can’t be quiet and he is not doing so with dignity or a shred of integrity. Wambach, whatever, as Mix said or to paraphrase, her argument that we should be open to differences yet we should exclude others which makes no sense. As pointed out by another, the JAB celebration shows we celebrate who we are in many different ways, ask Terrence Boyd and his many tats who he feels allegiance to though he has never played a meaningful game or, Fabian Johhnson and the conversation leaves the privilege of Donovan and Wambach. Bradenton doesn’t make you American. .

    Donovan had homesickness both times he left. Wambach never left the country. I’m a dual national and appreciate the comments by Mix. Interviews like Wambach make me physically ill, we should be accepting of sexuality, I agree, but we shouldn’t recognize international law. I’ve never been more upset to be honest, you can choose your loyalties, we don’t need a little dimension of national robots for our team. I’m American/Canadian, but Donovan of all people, who speaks Spanish fluently, should realize that parents split, kids grow up differently (especially the Mexican not to mention the Canadian border), and I couldn’t respect him less for his views. He and Wambach should simply support the country no matter how “political” their views may be. Landon has to say something because he always does and there a few in media, I don’t know about Ives, but Wahl, Seltzer, who built their career on what he did.

    Reply
  6. Can Donovan get over WHY he was not selected for WC 2014; he still has this gripe against Klinsmann. He must have been the happiest guy when we lost those matches this year so he could point fingers at Juergen. He took a sabbatical when most, if not all of the qualification matches were happening in 2013 and expected Klinsmann to welcome him back when Donovan decided he wanted to play in Brazil !!!! I wouldn’t call a player back too especially when others did all the hard work before a World Cup. Imagine say Neymar decides to take a break in 2017 and whiles his time in Cambodia or something and come around World Cup 2018, he expects to be included in the roster; he doesn’t make it to the roster . Are you surprised at the coach’s decision ??? PLEASE do not post Donovan’s gripes against the US coach – we all know why he is mad. Instead why don’t we all contribute to a site dedicated to Donovan’s tantrums. I am sure the domain “donovanhatesklinsmannWC2014.com” is available and I am willing to buy that domain provided all of his complaints are posted there. Right now, if Trump, Bernie etc were to question Kilnsmann, Donovan would be the first to jump into that bandwagon and shout ” I concur!”. My advice to Donovan ” Retire gracefully…. otherwise you will be remembered less as a great player (which you were) but more as one who lost his hair very early and squandered the goodwill he had earned as a player. If he was truly classy he should have remained through 2017, played well,through the qualifications and then resigned citing his dislike of the coach. But he did not have the gumption so Bye Bye Donovan (for the record, I no longer read his complaints)

    Reply
  7. So, now we know why Landon failed in Germany at Leverkusen and Munich. He, being a foreigner in Germany, didn’t care as much as those German-born players, since they grew up with the Bundesliga and he didn’t.

    Illogical right? Well, that’s the same rationale as Landon is using for foreign-born players on the USMNT.

    Reply
  8. I sometimes wonder if anyone here has been watching the US on the world stage over the last 20 years or so. Have the Klinsmann teams, built with the “better” international US citizens, really done better than the those that used primarily home grown talent? Instead of making this about xenophobia lets keep the focus on what the problem is and what they both meant. Klinsmann and his mentors are degrading the sport in this country just when it is accelerating in popularity. And if it wasn’t for the success of the woman’s team it would probably be worse.

    One might understand LD’s comments if you remember his path to the team. The US had a development program that produced some of the best the US had to offer including Landon Donovan, Demarcus Beasly, etc. Have you heard much about that program since Kinsmann took over with the promise of a strong development program?

    Like it or not Donavan and Wambach have earned the right to speak out. And frankly I have agreed with them for some time.

    Reply
    • Are you talking about IMG Academy? The same academy that passed over Dempsey? The generation you are referring to that came out of Bradenton together is looking more and more like a fluke. Don’t get me wrong. Quality and reliable talent came out of there, and it produced the closest we’ve ever come to a golden generation.

      Single, national training centers are an extremely inefficient way of finding and developing talent. Developing prospects is already a crapshoot, and Brandenton makes it even harder by limiting the number who can participate. A good starting point, and a great place to trasnition youngsters to a professional environment, but hopefully Bradenton will become obsolete.

      Developing players is a numbers game. Did Argentina really care if Lamela’s development took a bump after moving to Tottenham? Nope, because they have a dozen or so behind him. With the rise of real academies by MLS, and hopefully soon NASL, we won’t have to be throwing all our eggs into the next basket.

      Reply
  9. Wambach will fit right in with the Trump campaign, what an idiot. And Donovan needs to explain why Altidore does not place his hand over his heart during our national anthem or the fact that he himself is half canadian.

    Reply
  10. Some on this board claim to know how American each guy in question is. That is the biggest laugh –sarcasm– there is. First, if you read interviews of the African-American/Germans explaining their decision, they quickly realize they identify with the USA because they have an almost immediate comfort level when immersed in US culture. Although Germany is a country now of many nationalities, you are not German if you are not German. I know because my daughter has lived in Germany and looks like she will be spending a significant part of her future life in Germany. She is never accepted as a German and says she never will be. She’ll always be the Ami. African-Americans are an integral part of our country’s history, fabric and culture. Germany is a long way from that right now with their people of color. If you’ve spent most of your life in Germany standing out as the black guy or the American guy or the son of the American soldier, you are always different. I know how it feels to come home to a place where you may blend in, fit or feel comfortable. My father served in Africa. I was never going to be African. When we moved back to the USA, when I was 8, I could not remember my homeland for I was too young when I left. However, it felt so good to be in a comfortable place when we returned. I can imagine guys like Tom Dooley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Terrance Boyd, Julien Green and yes, even Tim Chandler probably felt an identity awakening deep inside them. None of these guys have last name that sounds particularly German– that’s why I left out David Wagner. They’ve probably stood out in many ways since they were young. And, Germany may not always have been a comfortable place to be different as some of these guys have eluded to when they first experienced the USMNT.

    Reply
  11. I appreciated her comments for one reason…this morning on SiriusXM FC EVERY show was talking about American soccer, instead of the usual;
    1. Barcelona
    2. Man United
    3. What did Messi have for breakfast

    Reply
  12. I believe these “foreign guys” were born as US citizens, none of them had to be naturalized. That fact alone will make them have some sort of emotional connection to the US; not to mention most of their parents serve in the military.

    Would Wambach and Donovan make this comment if Bradley is still the coach? Look at the “foreign guys” that Bradley brought in for USMNT: Jermaine Jones, Timothy Chandler, Mix Diskerud, David Yelldell and at U20: John Brooks, Alfredo Morales, and Terrence Boyd.

    Reply
  13. Newsflash – this is 2015.players around the globe have mixed national heritage. Look at Ireland,Northern Ireland and Wales – many of their guys are English-born. Same w/ the Jamaican team, while Jamaican-born Sterling plays for England. Tim Cahill could have represented Eng,Ireland or Samoa but chose Australia. I don’t consider any of these folks “ringers” A ringer would be current NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon, who played basketball for Russia in the Olympics

    Reply
  14. Hypocritical Lando. Maybe one of our greatest players but, “the way he feels about his roster spot” sure comes to question when he (walked out on his team) took that vacation during WC qualifying! Then he and freakin Wambaugh have the guts to even insinuate that those players in question have any less rights to represent the USA? Ask their parents who represented the USA if their AMERICAN sons have the right to represent us!
    So ignorant Abby.. goes from being the queen of the party, to being the turd floating in the punchbowl on her career farewell.

    Reply
  15. Very insightful and brave comments from Donovan. I must agree.

    However, I grew up Mexican-American in America and US Soccer has done very little to create a better multicultural arsenal of American players born here on the home front. There are greater opportunities for “European Americans” and naturalized players than actual red, white, and blue blooded Americans born in the states.
    Klinsmann talked the talk, but has not walked the walk. He should step down as a coach.

    Reply
  16. I have a question for slowleftarm since he seems like the one most knowledgable about what makes you an American.
    My name is Dayo I was not born in America. I was born in Nigeria. Moved here 2001. Have lived here for about 13 years. Now obviously I’m a naturalized citizen. I am young and I do have aspirations to play for the US soccer team. If it when I wear the jersey am I more or less American then my teammates who were born here. I’m a big fan of Nigeria and USA. Now I do have brothers. One was born here but only lived here for 9 months as we moved to Germany. He also plays soccer. Big fan of Germany and USA. Is he less of an American EVEN though he was BORN here because he spent only 9 months here and is developing his skills in Germany. Is the amount of time you live in this country make you more or less of an American? Now last brother has never set foot in America. He was born in a military base in Germany. He too plays soccer. By law he is as much as an Ameican citizen as my brother born here or you. Now when he wears the jersey is more or less than an American than his two older brothers because he never set foot in America even though that’s not really his fault. My point is this. In one proud German-Nigerian-American family we have a dad who fought for you to be able to have this opinion. And yet in by your standards we may not be American enough for some of y’all. We all love Nigeria, Germany, and USA. That doesn’t make us any less American. If any of us played for the USA it would be unfair to claim we aren’t American enough because
    1. We weren’t born here but moved here. But became citizens per Law
    2. Born here so citizen off the boat. But didn’t live here long enough to be considered American enough (which I think is foolish and a cowardish thing to say and makes no sense)
    3. Was born in military base never set foot in America but by law are just as American as Obama
    All in all only I can’t run for office for USA pres. I’m sorry if they can run for office that makes them as Anerican as possible. In my case I’m just as Ameircan as they are too although I can’t run for president. So slowleftarm and others. Next time why don’t you look in a service men or women child in the eye and tell them you’re not American enough because your parents decided to join the military. Look me in the eye and tell me the same thing. Look at someone born here but had to move at a young age and tell them the same thing. Cowards is what y’all are. Pathetic.

    Reply
    • Well not to speak for Slowleft but I know he supports Zelalem representing the US even though he wasn’t born here, but he lived here for a number of years. Played soccer here and was found by an Arsenal scout in the US. Yes Germany certainly had a hand in his development but you can at least make a case for the US also having a hand. On the other hand the US really had no part in the development of a player like Julian Green, who was born here but never played here growing up.

      Personally to me it comes down to development. For better or worse (probably worse for us) a national team should reflect the player development and growth of a country. To me it’s not about who feels the most American or doesn’t. I think too many are kind of mixing up these emotions.

      Reply
      • So what you are saying is if all three of us with the same last names played for USA. You would only support me as I actually developed here but not my two other brothers who developed in Germany? Just really really think about. They had no choice about where to develop. so I got it. You don’t even have to be really born here. As long as you lived here for a good amount of time you have our full support. Makes complete sense!!

  17. Not good enough for your home country?
    Nothing to do this summer?
    Would you like to meet your father?
    Give us a call!
    Our player development system is specifically designed for those with no national pride but would like to increase their net worth by being a part time USMNT player.
    Our industry leading team of beggars, hucksters and posers will help you navigate every issue you could encounter such as:
    Genealogy: who’s your daddy?
    FIFA Regulations: are you American enough?
    Tattoos: Ol’Glory or Bald Eagle?
    Give us a call today and stop those harassing overseas call at once.
    Operators are standing by.
    Collect calls accepted.
    We’re an equal opportunity employer.
    Se habla German.

    Reply
  18. I can think of lots of reasons why Americans who, because of their parents’ decisions to be overseas when they were kids, would feel MORE passion representing the US than someone whose lifelong residency in the US might lead them to take that representation for granted. One analogy comes to mind: Derek Jeter was born in North Jersey but moved to Michigan at 4. He wasn’t a Tigers fan. He became a Yankee fan because he went to see games when he went back east to visit his grandparents from time to time, and we all know his passion for that club. Now take World Cup goal scorer Julian Green, born in Tampa and returned to the US every year to see his father. Does Landon know what’s in Julian Green’s heart? What about World Cup goal scorer Brooks, who literally has his Illinois tattooed on his arm? Or World Cup goal scorer Jones, who chose to live here and play in MLS despite other options? Bottom line for any eligible player should be whether the leave it all on the field during practice and games. If they do — if they show pride wearing the shirt by their actions — that should be plenty.

    Reply
    • no way…did you watch them play during the college cup. If you pick someone domestically, pick from the professional ranks or USSF set up.

      Reply
  19. I think Abby and Landon are simply victims of their language. But their point is pure and it’s not about nationality so much as desire and pride (which because of the nature of this discussion can be confused with nationalism) . Bottom line: We should not have to “recruit” someone to play for our national team. There’s nothing xenophobic about that. If they want to be part of the USMNT, terrific. But anyone that takes convincing is automatically coming in with self-serving baggage that is egocentric, not team-centric. I’d rather have a guy that says “I’m American and I want to play for the USMNT” (a la Mix). We know that guy really cares about having American team success beyond simply winning an individual match more than a guy that we have to court and convince. It has nothing to do with whether or not someone is an American (they obviously are). It has to do with whether or not they show the desire to represent the USA as American soccer players.

    Reply
    • You’re giving them a lot of credit here. In any case, I think Landon and Abby should contact Freegle before making their next public statement. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Couple things here:

    1) First, discussions surrounding who is not a citizen etc. is nothing new in the football world. I have seen this occur in England, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy – even Mexico and parts of Africa. Listen, be happy that people care enough about it for it to gain traction in the media.

    2) Second, I have LISTENED to both interviews (LD on Sirius XM and Abby with Bill Simmons). You can get it online or on soundcloud. I don’t agree with the stance they make (or Slow – who I don’t think is racist. He just makes an illogical argument and conflates 2 issues). That being said, what LD said was not that bad. His opinion, but he did not come across as completely ignorant. However, I do think Abby sounds incredibly ignorant in her statements. It’s like she spoke without thinking. She made some statements that were completely off base to say the very least. She is the perfect example of an athlete who should not have a mike stuck in front of them.

    3) I am beginning to think that LD was one of the sources for that article that came out 2/3 years ago.

    Reply
    • I think there is a real question here and many places about what is international football meant to be? What if USSF and MLS came together and just said we’re just going to find 50 kids in Brazil move them here, sign them to MLS clubs and get them on a path to US citizenship. Is that really in the spirit of what the competition is? If it is then what are we waiting for, lets just build a team of Diego Costa’s then.

      Reply
      • Jack,

        You cannot do that because US immigration law will not allow it. From my understanding, US law does allow child trafficking which what they would be. US immigration also does not allow child economic migrants (which is what they would be in another sense). You have to realize that US has very strict immigration rules..among the strictest in West. The only exception is citizenship by birthright in US.

        FIFA actually has stricter restrictions than the US government because it relies on the country to determine citizenship, then throws additional qualifications on top like who were you able to play for when you first suited up and 1 time switches. I tell people that in my father’s day, it was A LOT easier to switch. The only FIFA can do is allow multiple switches until one plays for the national team. At that point, your selection is locked. Even with that, all these guys qualify except for Jones, who suited up for Germany Mannschaft 2 or 3 times.

  21. Klinsmann would be conflicted between having homegrown players and dual nationals because invariably the dual nationals are better trained right now and they know the game better. They are generally better players (with exceptions). You can choose to either have a chance to win or take the longer route and develop players from the bottom up. There is an advantage to having people who know how the rest of the world plays.

    Klinsmann’s flaw is really more in his ability to coach. He is not a great coach even with good players. He has not instilled any of the players with the desire to want to win as a team. There are way too many MLS players and dual nationals who want to score the goal themselves. They play with selfish motives. They may even want to only play with players they know and are friends with. I don’t want to name names. But some games could have been won if all the players had been given a chance to touch the ball. Sharing the ball equally wins games.

    Wambach is lucky to have played on a team that has far better coaching than is being afforded to the USMNT. Those USWNT coaches are much more competent than the men’s coaches in recent memory.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t say USWNT have better coaching, because I doubt it. I really don’t think Jill Ellis is that great a coach. What the US does have is a MAJOR GULF in talent. The USWNT won despite Ellis’ tactics in the beginning. There are only 4 other teams that could compete with the USWNT national team in terms of starting 11 talent and no one come close in terms of the depth of the pool.

      Put it this way, the US could field a USWNT team with players who got left off the 23 that would still make it to the quarters. The US developed players the other teams fielded (including multiple teams in the knock out stages).

      Reply
  22. Donovan is right and very much in line with the rest of the world. The national team is for those that grew up dreaming of representing America. Not for those that couldn’t find a better option and had to settle for their second choice. No matter what anybody says those passport Americans can’t feel the shirt the same way as somebody whose childhood dream was to wear the stars and stripes.
    We want respect from the football world and yet we show up to the world cup with a half-dozen players that barely speak English. In that respect we are not better than Qatar.

    Reply
  23. In every game I saw Chandler play for the NAT’s he gave nothing less than %110 leaving it all out on the field. As far as other issues flying or whatever, I don’t think any of us know the real story. Also, don’t forget that most of us don’t understand what it’s like to grow up in Germany as a Black guy with an American serviceman father. I am sure they were made to not feel fully German and it was complicated. No one should questions Jone’s commitment to the US team. Watch him on the field- thats what matters. Most recently after losing in the Gold Cup. If Donovan had half of his competitive fire, he’d be a world class, elite player.

    Reply
    • I had a very interesting sit down with a few friends who were black, mixed, Turkish and non-white Latino in Germany when I lived in Cologne, Germany. There is a very palpable feeling that grew up not being accepted by Germans. They were generally considered outsiders. That is probably why you see more men of color look in the direction of the USA. I can say from first hand experience that there are a lot of white Geramericans, but they do not really feel this way because they do not stand out as such. That’s not to say Germany isn’t accepting (I like Germany a lot), but this social feeling exists and the Turkish get the brunt of it.

      Reply
      • This is true – generally speaking non-white people are less well integrated in Europe. That said, there are plenty of non-white players playing for Germany and other national teams in Europe. The difference between those guys and Germericans playing for the USMNT is that the players playing for Germany, Holland etc. are better players. If JJ, Fabian and the other Germericans felt they could be regulars for Germany, they’d be playing for them.

      • My understanding from my friends going into the last world cup was that FJ was an outside shot to make the team as fullback if he had not transferred, Definitely the B team, a real shot down the roster on the A team. He was a regular player on the team that won the UEFA U21 Championship with Ozil et al. Brooks and Green were considered good prospects for the team, but not all prospects work out.

    • Chandler didn’t play for the US for over a year after the loss in Honduras. While everyone else was playing in qualifiers, the gold cup, and friendlies, he was no where to be seen. A number of times he was injured, I suppose walking off the field, only to return to the starting line up of his club right after the international break. Chandler was always a drawn out saga of pulling out of cap tying matches ect. Perhaps his club was pushing him to not play, fine he still didn’t deserve a spot on the World Cup roster.

      Reply
  24. As a child of immigrant parents, I’ve never completely agreed with Slowleftarm’s comments on this issue but I was grounded and grown up enough to not immediately assume he is racist or xenophobic like some of the rest of you.

    It is interesting that on this website there are many Donovan supporters (i am one of them) and many Slowleftarm bashers (i have criticized him many times). Now many have to reconcile that Donovan, Wambach, and probably safe to assume that many other players on the national team feel the same way as Slowleft. The rumors have been out there forever.

    At the end of the day though, there is no way to measure how much “somebody cares” about the U.S. and the USMNT. So it is pointless to question it in my opinion. If I had a choice, of course I would prefer for us to have a really good team of domestically born and developed players, but thats only because of what it would say about the development of soccer in our country.

    Reply
    • Thanks. As I’ve said on here before, my view on this issue is the majority one worldwide. Bringing in ringers is against the spirit of international sport. Worst part is that the ringers we bring in aren’t any better than the guys we already have (JJ and Fabian are exceptions although JJ is likely past it at this point).

      Reply
      • I think FJ is arguably the best payer in the pool (right now at least). JJ is better than most. Brooks is the best under 23 center back in the pool and has the POTENTIAL to be a beast. Green has a great potential. Mixx is OK, AJo is better than most forwards (name 2 or 3 better than him (and he is 24/25). Chandler has potential, but didn’t perform. He should be left off.

        The key issue is while US pool has gotten better, the talent still isn’t good let alone great. We have depth in mediocrity. Are there guys that were left off that I think should have been included in the last world cup? Yes -> Lee Nguyen and Benny Feilhaber. However, he looked at them and decided against them. JK has looked at over 100 players and many more domestic based players than any other coach before. Yes, he looked at and left Benny and Lee, but he found Cameron and Beasler (our best CBs). Found Yedlin, Morris, Wood etc. He converted Beasley to LB. The only guys, who were raised abroad, that he is/was guilty of preferring are/were: FJ & JJ (both deserved because they are clearly better), Brooks (even LD says he 3rd best CB in the pool rigth now, AJo(name better forwads). The only two who probably shouldn’t be there are Chandler and Mixx until the play better.

      • To say your opinion is that of the majority of the world is just incorrect. For every major soccer nation I can probably find, with very little effort, a prominent player who would not meet your definition of a true national. Here’s a quick rundown just from off the top of my head. England–Owen Hargreaves, France–many, many African players, Germany–Boateng, Italy– Rossi, Spain–Costa, Argentina–Messi.

  25. The unfortunate part of this is the use of the word “foreigner” initially. I think Landon’s point was probably the point a relatively inarticulate Abby was trying to make, namely that there are players who were not raised in America or it’s soccer system who “bleed red white and blue” (see: J. Jones) for whatever reason and their are those who do not (see: T. Chandler). And probably a fair amount that fall somewhere in the middle (maybe F. Johnson?) While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having those players on our team,

    it is probably fair to say that relying on the youth system of Germany or Mexico or wherever to develop the next generation of USMNT players is a mistake. Maybe you will find some players like Jermaine who are going to go through a wall for you, but you are probably more likely to find a higher percentage of those guys if they are brought through a cohesive quality US youth system. Not to mention more likely to have a consistent source of quality players.

    Let’s not forget that Abby is a soccer player, not a journalist. Maybe she didn’t choose the best words and maybe Landon’s were a bit better because of practice. But how many people would really disagree with the followng statement: While we would certainly like more guys who care like Jermaine, Mikey or Mix, wherever they come from, we probably don’t need more Tim Chandlers and, to that end, it would be nice to have a constant stream of reliable homegrown players to choose from.

    Reply
    • Foreigner is not a pejorative. When I go anywhere outside the US, I’m a foreigner. Everyone is a foreigner somewhere. Usually when someone has spent all or nearly all of their life outside the US, that person is a foreigner.

      Reply
    • If Abby or Landon have to have some supporter/spin doctor explain “what they really mean”, which isn’t what they really said, then they are so inarticulate that they shouldn’t be mouthing off in public. Are you getting paid to shill for them?

      Reply
  26. This is perfect. The irrational hate for Abby and LD is matched only by the irrational desire to fill our team with passport Americans because deep down some people don’t think Americans are good enough. Now in a two day period all of the targets of this irrationality have combined! I love it.

    LD and Abby are 100% right of course and deep down all of the people shrieking in protest on this thread know it.

    Reply
  27. Anybody who watched the WC saw Jones work his ass off every game and save their ass against Portugal and Brooks emotion with his goal against Ghana and Johnson was probably the best player for the US. They showed alot of heart and they played for THEIR country just not the one they live in. Yes and Green game them hope against Belgium. Donovan just needs to fade away. I wish there was a pole of players who actually like Donovan.

    Reply
    • One thing I find interesting is the assumption that players who are dual nationals only play for the US because they can’t make their “other” team. As if they only care about that other country or are total mercenaries, or whatever. The assumption also is that people don’t really want to play or don’t really want to be “American”, but are forced to because they have no other options. My wife is a naturalized citizen and I know a whole lot of naturalized citizens as a result. I don’t think I have ever heard a naturalized citizen say, Gee, I would rather go back to my home country. I even know some who are here illegally, went through a lot to get here and go through a lot to stay here. It’s as if people like Donovan or Wambach or Slow Left Arm don’t want to assume that maybe people/players want to play for the US because it is a great country and they would much rather be Americans than Germans, or Mexicans, or whatever. People still strive to come to this country. We are still a beacon of hope and freedom for millions of people all over the world. Perhaps, just perhaps, players want to play for the US because they not only are Americans, they WANT to be Americans. Why are people who question that selling America short?

      Reply
  28. Holy crap, people. Y’all are really getting your panties in a bunch over what amounts to Donovan and Abby saying they want to see national team players represent the nation with pride, rather than represent the nation as a means to better themselves. Could Abby have said it more gracefully than she did? Sure. And you know what, I won’t pretend to know what’s in her heart, but I think that’s what she meant, and that that’s what Landon meant too. Clearly, we have guys who seize the opportunity and represent the USA with pride and ferocity, like Jones and Brooks and Boyd. I’m sure Johnson does too – he’s just a very chill dude. These guys might not have grown up American, but they’ve embraced it, and they feel American, especially when they put on the jersey. I don’t think anyone has a problem with those guys. It’s the guys who waffle, seemingly waiting to see if they can latch on with Germany or wherever else before committing, that we have an issue with. There are guys – born here, there, anywhere – who would give ANYTHING to put on the jersey that, say, Tim Chandler seems to care very little about. Nagbe is one, Jones is one, we have many. And those are the guys that are going to GRIND on the field. Bring everything they’ve got. That’s all Abby and Landon are saying.

    Reply
    • Isn’t it just as likely for a white suburban college kid to take representing USMNT for granted and not really care? Why is this limited to Timmy Chandler when we have seen plenty of guys dual national or not fail to really give a crap?

      Landon is just a spoiled brat who is still upset he didn’t get his way. As far as Abby….she is either dense of a self absorbed jerk take your pick.

      Reply
      • did you even read his interview? it has nothing to do with “white suburban college kids” (god i hate them), and everything to do with the american soccer system producing its own players.

  29. It’s such a lazy dumb excuse for explaining the mediocrity of US soccer.
    Bill: “Abby, why arn’t the men winning world cup’s like the women?”
    Abby: “it’s those foreigners and their negative influence on the team! Also helicopters! And egos”

    If you heard the original podcast with abby on bill simmons it was all over the place.

    Truth is the men’s game is the most competitive sport in the world. It’s so hard to win games at the highest level. And to think that just because we are America that we can out work and out hustle ourselves to a world cup victory is so naive.

    By the way the German duel nationals are the best players we have. Without them we would have gotten swept at the world cup

    Reply
    • I think in his overinflated, mindless zeal to shit on Klinsman, he has lost sight of the fact that he is shitting on many others. Such as myself. A fan of his.

      Reply
  30. As an American living in Brasil with a Brasilian wife and Brasilian baby on the way (38 weeks along…) I would like to think my kid is just as American as anyone, sure he/she won’t be born in the US, but it is still a big part of his/her life. Also before I got married I made my wife agree to let any offspring play for the US.

    Reply
  31. He and Abby Wambach have a strong point and I think their comments have nothing to do with diversity or ebing xenophobic. It’s about growing our Domestic product with guys that have lived here most of their lives, and have grown within the system. Our system might be deeply flawed, but that’s another subject.

    I look at Jurgen Klinsmann in much the same way I look at internet commentators in the early 00’s. You’d read Yanks Abroad or whatever site and the “wisdom” was if some dude is playing for the 2 or 3 Bundesliga and has a bit of American in him, it was like “CAP HIM NOW!” That since he plays in Europe, he is automatically much better than any guy who’s played in this country. I thought so then as I do now, that that is BS. And I think with Jurgen bringing in dual national players it’s the same mentality; that they MUST be better than anyone in our US domestic system.

    Now, do I mind that there’s diversity in the American pool? Not at all, I’m fine with it. Do I think Jurgen Klinsmann has talked a big tale of growing our program while the results are not there to back up his talk? Absolutely. Because he has that Euro mindset that because these guys grew up in a “tougher” environment, they must automatically be more qualified to represent the USA if they have that heritage. It’s bunk. And since 2011, this program hasn’t gotten much better. Our younger players are not heading over to Europe or other places as frequently. And if they do, they rot on a bench. Our style has not gotten any more proactive. Kinsmann talked a good sell; that is all.

    Reply
      • This is what he says:

        “Wow Abby,

        I guess there are pros and cons in limiting the base for selection.

        You have just singled out a few of us. But why? Why are we your single oddballs?

        Think about who you try to disenfranchise. Because if you see us as the group to disenfranchise, then at least let it be known who we are.

        Stats and history will show – “our group” has more than others produced volunteer and defending soldiers for what, by us, is willingly chosen and gathered to be worth protecting: Your nation.
        Wish you would accept it as ours too.
        I know we’re not quite equal. From “your group of people” the country’s Commander in Chief need to be selected. However, other than that – you and I share something not unique, but constitutionally earned, a birthright to defend this nation as an American. Wherever we go. Led by whoever has earned, by democratic process, his/her right to lead, on or off the field, in peace, in war, in practice, or in any other kind of pursuit of your happiness.

        Enjoy your retirement. But stay active. We all need you. Oddballs or not.
        Mix”

      • our mix has quite a future as a speechwriter.

        can someone explain what he’s talking about here: “‘our group’ has more than others produced volunteer and defending soldiers.” is he saying that there are more naturalized citizens in the military than natural-born citizens?

      • Nate,

        He is saying that, in proportion, a higher percentage of naturalized citizens, kids from from foreign territories and ex-pat children tend to serve the US government at higher rates than Americans born and raised in the States. I actually remember reading something like that or hearing something like that not too long ago (I think John Oliver).

  32. Seems to be a theme everywhere these days. Similarly the irony is that what actually makes America great is inclusiveness.

    Just like the USMNT itself is often reported as welcoming to all comers.

    In every National Team or every team really, there are players who want it more.. you honestly can’t tell me that someone in FJ, AJ or Nagbe’s situation is less interested simply because of their unique scenario. Each person is unique. And each is American.

    Maybe Donovan should have wanted it more and not showed up to camp fat.

    Reply
  33. Timmy Chandler is the one name that for sure did not care at all. Oh that’s right he was scared to fly or whatever. Everyone else I don’t really have a problem.

    Reply
  34. Landon himself could have played for Canada via his father. I get what Landon is saying and I know where he’s coming from. I know his comments were directed towards dual-nationals but reading between the lines all he’s saying is that he wants US players to wear the shirt with pride and not just any pride — American pride.

    Reply
  35. We have gone around this Donovan-versus-Klinsmann block many times, with frequent stops at “but is he really American enough?” Now, though, LD has added some implicit criticism of named teammates. SBI just might implode today.

    Reply
  36. heard this live and was pretty disgusted with his comments. him and Wynalda used the word naturalized leading up to the comments quoted here then went on to talk about Johnson and Jones, neither of whom are naturalized. they were born to US servicemen.

    what about Nagbe? there is a guy who IS naturalized but i guarantee you LD would have no problem with him. why? because he plays in MLS and has been in the US system forever. as if that is what makes someone American or not.

    i think it shows a complete lack of respect for the unique situations dual nationals have. i understand the point of that call was to take some heat off Abby and back her to say she probably didn’t mean it like that…but then it turned into LD basically saying players in the US/MLS system are more American then the dual national who is developing overseas.

    the more LD talks, the more i disagree with him. STARZ had a MLS 20th Season Part I and Part II episode the other week with him, Cannon, and Agoos with Rob Stone interviewing. LD was very weird the entire time and compared to Cannon, Stone, and Agoos, seemed to be insanely jaded. which i do get…the guy has been harassed for SO long. but as a whole, while i respect him as a player and appreciate what he has done, i’m starting to realize his take on things just isn’t in alignment with how i view things.

    Reply
    • one other note…Wynalda said from the start he disagreed with Abby’s using “foreigner” and while he understood where LD was coming from, i don’t think he agreed completely.

      Reply
    • “…as if that is what makes someone American or not.”

      unless i missed something in his comments, donovan isn’t talking about whether someone is american or not. from what i read, what’s important to him is that they developed in the american soccer system, and–as a principle–i really don’t see anything wrong with that.

      Reply
      • anthony,

        okay?

        not sure how that’s relevant. donovan’s point was that the american system is likely to produce players who care more about representing the u.s., that’s all. really not that revolutionary–it’s a widely accepted view at the club level (and probably on many other national teams).

      • Messi entered the Barcelona system when he was still a kid. He has spent most of his life in Spain. Does that make him less an Argentine? Many, many, many top players spend most of their professional lives in countries other than their citizenship. Only in the US does this seem to be a problem over whether or not those players should represent their national teams.

      • mr. page,

        “Only in the US does this seem to be a problem over whether or not those players should represent their national teams.”

        first (and foremost): i don’t feel any obligation to do something because “other countries are doing it”.

        second: it’s just not true. mexico has an ongoing debate about nationalized players on el tri, england fans were going back and forth over januzaj (which was laughable for a few reasons), diego costa representing spain is still controversial for many brasilians and spainards. and it’s funny you mention messi, because you can read in almost any extensive bio piece on him that argentines very obviously *don’t* consider him as argentinian as someone like tevez.

      • False. I could be an American photographer asked to move to the upper parts of Norway to study and capture nature. I could be there for 20 years and I could also still consider myself American and eventually move back. Living in America isn’t always what makes one American.

      • WRONG!! I am an American missionary serving in the Dominican Republic. My father served in the Air Force for 20 years, and then 10 years more with a contractor inside the beltway, working in intelligence arena. My kids are American through and through. We celebrate American holidays, etc… I disagree wholeheartedly with your opinion, just as I almost always do SLOW. Thankfully for us, we have people who have sacrificed in foreign lands so we can disagree without fear of reprisal. Look in the mirror SLOW. You are a blessed man.

      • WRONG SLOW!

        Being in America makes you aware of American culture not an American. As I have said before, I know multiple people who have lived in USA for different periods (4 – 10 years) in part while in school and afterwards, and never consider themselves America. I can imagine you telling my classmate Juan that he is an American because she spent middle and high school (12 -18) in America. He would have laughed at you.

        Again, you conflate American citizenship with American culture. You are essentially saying that someone who is American by culture or came through the system is the only one who should be on the team. That is a DANGEROUS slope to tread. Americaness is a subjective standard if left to people and can be used to exclude (unfairly). Let me ask you a question, do you know US Soccer has international camps abroad for kids who are Americans, but are living abroad (at least they used to when I lived abroad). Granted those camps are not as good as those you get in the academies if you are good enough to get in. Does someone who attends those camps qualify as “American” enough?

        Listen we can argue who wants to fight for the flag in a game, and that might be less evident in kids raised abroad. However, they are all Americans, and you will find Americans who will always put the flag secondary to their own concerns. Hell, Friedel walked away from playing for the team because he wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot. How strong were his concerns. I wouldn’t want that guy on the team either.

      • Slow,

        On a serious note, here. I have never thought you were a bigot, you just have a different point of view. I also assume from different things that you have said (you said your girls went to college) that you have to be in your mid to late 40’s at least. As such, I would expected a more nuanced sense of logic from you. You do not have to agree with my point of view, but I expect logical analysis.

        Some of the things you have said seem to be devoid of awareness of people like me who have at least 1 foreign born parent and have dual citizenships. People whose parents jobs sent them abroad for their entire childhoods except maybe 2/3/5 years. You right here that they or we ARE NOT Americans while seemingly ignoring the fact that we maintained out American identities while living abroad. Spoke English, celebrate American holidays, ate American foods, constantly hosted visits from American relatives or friends etc. I grew up with a bunch of people whose parents were diplomats, ex-pats working for American companies (in finance, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods), military or government services. Trust we are very much Americans.

        My friend’s family who has spent multiple generations in the military and raised their boys everywhere in the world have a right to consider their boys Americans.

      • My sons are American, love America, make stupid jokes in American, speak imperfect American, and may never live in America.

        I think that you can only make comments like you do on the internet, and you do it for the attention. That’s a little weak but if anything you are helping SBI which was slowly slipping to irrelevancy.

        I do wish this discussion had more to do with soccer, though, and why foreign nationals – the committed, patriotic ones – are a such a bad thing for our team, on the field. I can’t think of a MNT that has ever NOT had a few, going back a long time, and certainly through the modern, post-1990 era with Clavijo, Ramos, Stewart, Dooley, etc.

        So these comments by former great ex-players would have more weight, to me, if there was precedent, and an explanation of how fielding only this “ideal” will make us better at soccer. Because I can’t see us being better today without the contributions of those players above.

  37. Seriously Landon? Ripping your teammates by saying they don’t care about the NATs. Talk about self-entitled primaddona. It’s not about you and how much you’ve done for the NATs over the years. It was about building a team to compete in Brazil. And compete we did. Talentwise, Donovan did not deserve to be the main guy on the team anymore, so I can see why you don’t bring him given this mindset.

    Reply
    • I have thought the same about the locker room since LD was left off. If you remember, he had not been playing well in MLS, showed up overweight, and had taken the sabatical 6 months earlier. As a coach for over 20 years, that stuff matters in a locker room. I think it is very hypocritical for LD to say what he said. He did not care enough to shorten his Cambodian trip. But it was important enough to him, to go to Everton two off seasons consecutively. We all make choices, where you are born is not one of them. That’s something your parents choose. Those parents chose to serve the US, in these cases overseas. They should be commended not looked at sideways. Military kids sacrifice a ton. And they are Americans. That being said, LD and Abby have the right to their opinion. I just disagree.

      Reply
      • regarding LD, don’t forget that JK invited him back after all that you just described, and when back in the fold, LD played extremely well.

        always forgotten in the rehash of events by the majority here on this board

      • I’m with Byrdman. I remember LD looking slow and a shell of himself right before JK had to make his roster cuts. AFTER being left off the team, LD then went on a tear for the Galaxy in MLS.

        And I don’t know how you can say Jones and Johnson are “good teammates” and then describe how you don’t think they should be on the team because they came up through the German system and don’t care as much.

        Look, I’m all for building the US Soccer youth system up so that when we pick the best players to represent the senior USMNT, they are primarily players we develop. But international soccer is the big time, and when the chips are down, our manager had better pick the best players that are eligible, regardless of where they were developed or where they play or how many USA tattoos they sport. This is what the best teams do, and it is what we should do. I have my gripes with JK, but his recruiting of dual-nationals is not one. It is what has kept us relevant during a period of down-time talent-wise.

    • Come on, that narrative only applies to guys like Jozy, Gonzalez, Nagbe, Agudelo, etc. Who are either the sons of immigrants raised here in the states or immigrants that moved to this country and owe their development to the US, those are the guys who represent the diversity of this country, Johnson, Brooks, Chandler, etc. are just mercenaries that found out they could play for the US and decided to abandon their dream of playing for the mannschaft when they found out they weren’t good enough and an accepted the USMNT callups because it would give them the chance to play a WC and attract more attention from scouts.

      Reply
      • Chandler had no shot of playing for Mannschaft. However, F Johnson was considered an outside shot of making the team as a fullback according to my friends back in Germany. Green and Brooks are considered as 2 young guys with a lot potential who would be in the pool. Whether they make the team would depend on how they develop. Brooks is 21 and Green is 19/20.

      • And Jermaine Jones?! Without his physical presence, dedication to winning 50-50 balls, and overall skilled play, there is no way we make it through the group of death.

        This whole topic burns me to the core. One of the reasons I love the USMNT is the diversity, and representation of the melting pot that shows on the field. LD, Wambach. . . they bring us down, and reveal an outdated, and yes, xenophobic view.

    • US Soccer fans tend to forget this detail about LD. I understand what he is trying to express and being in the locker room gives him insight we won’t have. Still, this is not a good look to me, and definitely not how I believe Americans and our national team should think…

      Reply
      • It’s not like these guys chose to go where they went. All the guys I knew in the Navy, Army and Marines went where they were sent. As such, their kids were going to spend some time abroad if not all. Again, try telling my ex-football playing buddy from the Academy that his 2 half international kids are not America. Something tells me you won’t last or even do it.

      • Well, Gary Page, that doesn’t apply because I am not the one trying to preclude American citizens from playing on the team just because I have some idea as to what an American is. However, if you must know, I left my job at an AMLAW 100 law firm and went to work for an NGO where I facilitate getting products made by small farmers/producers into the global marketplace. We also certify sustainable market practices. Funny thing, I was never uber liberal…always more of a moderate, but I ended up doing this because I feel that I do something good for society.

      • Sorry Gary, I just saw that your response was for Slow, not me. My bad. The text indented a weird way on my screen

    • So says the guy who abandoned his team during a vital qualifying stretch because he needed a “break.” Have any of the “foreigners” traveled to Cambodia for a little r&r instead of traveling with the USMNT to San Pedro Sula for WQ qualifying duel?

      I’m sure there were more than a few guys who questioned LD’s commitment after his sabbatical.

      Reply
      • I doubt anyone complained more than I when Klinsmann left LD off the WC roster. When LD didn’t take the opportunity to sign with Everton and re-upped with the Galaxy and the MLS instead, many people complained that he was afraid of challenging himself. I often spoke in favor of him. Landon Donovan is becoming a caricature. He needs to shut up and go away. Now would be a good time for him to go on a Sabbatical.

    • I understand Landon’s comments and sentiments given Jurgen’s World Cup selections (like Julian Green) over Landon. In that context, his comments do not bother me as he is merely stating part of his own disagreement with being cut from the World Cup squad. Abby’s comments are different in both wording and context, and I disagree with them 100%.

      Reply

Leave a Comment