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Nagbe confirms he turned down USMNT call-ups, Berhalter won’t close the door on him

Darlington Nagbe will not be with the U.S. Men’s National Team in September, and he has reportedly confirmed that his absence was his decision.

A day after a report from the Athletic stated he turned down a call-up for next month’s friendlies and hours after he was omitted from the official USMNT roster, Nagbe confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday night that he declined an invite to camp. The central midfielder said that one of the reasons for his absence was a desire to be with his family.


Another reason Nagbe reportedly gave for passing on recent call-ups, including for the Concacaf Gold Cup, was the fact they came on late notice.

This is not the first time the 29-year-old Nagbe has reportedly rejected a call-up. He reportedly did the same thing on at least one occasion in 2017, which was rumored to be in part because Nagbe wanted to be with his family and also because of a lack of playing time under then-USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

When asked about the initial report revealing Nagbe’s rejected call-ups earlier on Wednesday, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter avoided confirming the rejection, choosing instead to praise the Atlanta United midfielder.

“First of all, I have a lot of respect for Darlington as a player. He’s a player that I have admired for a while. I’ve watched him play for years and I think he’s an excellent player,” said Berhalter. “Regarding the conversations that I’ve had with him, I’m going to keep the content of those conversations private, like I always do. I don’t feel it’s right to share personal conversations in the media.”

When asked if rejecting call-ups would lead to a player being discarded and kept off the team in the future, Berhalter said no. What’s more, he made it clear that repeatedly turning down calls would not necessarily spell the end of a player’s USMNT career.

“I’m not the type of guy that says to any player, ‘Listen, you’re done. You’re out of our program. We’re closing the door on you’,” said Berhalter during the conference call. “That’s, again, not directed at Darlington. It’s just in general. I feel like we are in the business of communication and continuing to talk to players.

“Every player has their own set of circumstances and we are very cognizant of that and we take every case on an individual basis.”

As forgiving as he may have sounded with that statement, Berhalter also stated that he needs to be able to count on players that are fully invested in the team. The USMNT is trying to reach the World Cup after failing to do so last cycle, and Berhalter wants all his players to be bought into the plans.

“I think if we just isolate the question and talk about do we want players that are committed, taking Darlington out of this, I would say everything we’re doing is about commitment from the players,” said Berhalter. “We ask them for a lot of sacrifice and we ask them to go above and beyond. If we want to reach our goals as a team, we’re going to need players that are committed to our cause and our vision.”


  1. So you go to camp and sit behind MB and Trapp no thanks. I get it and GB hasn’t proven anything yet. Not only does GB have an MLS bias he has a MB and Trapp bias.

  2. I agree with the camp of he doesn’t think he should be sitting behind Bradley and Trapp.
    He HAS found a home at holding mid and I agree with him.
    Not saying I would definitely start him over others, but he wouldn’t be sitting him in a 4-5-1 with those two getting the PT.

  3. The goal of the USMNT manager is to put the best 11 collective players on the field in a system to succeed. Unfortunately, that does not mean the best 11 from 1-11, and it may not mean the best 4 midfielders, especially if they are all offensive minded and we need some cover for the defense.

    JK’s tinkering with systems and positions was incoherent to me as a fan. Arena appeared to have a theory on a system, which traditionally worked best for our players, but screwed the pooch at the end of the last campaign by his nonsensical selection of players for certain games.

    We have to give Berghalter time to figure out if his preferred system works for a good best 11 and who may have to take a back seat.

    Nagbe is a very good MLS player. But, I am not sure that he is better than 2 or 3 other offensive minded US mids domestic or abroad – either in the past or now.

    That being said, if he is not going to play, I have no problem with a mature MLS professional player – like Nagbe – saying, thanks but no thanks to a call up to a camp.

  4. holmes, gall, and green are all healthy and playing and weren’t picked. they have all shown up and played for the NT the past year or so. why am i instead hearing about someone who didn’t produce much and isn’t all that interested? half the reason last cycle happened is the dropoff from the 2014 era players to nagbe and co.’s generation.

    • to me it says a lot about berhalter and how much he learned from 2017 that it sounds like bradley would be here if TFC wasn’t a bubble squad and nagbe would be here if he returned his emails.

      • The question is why is TFC a bubble squad to beginning with?
        I think I know the answer. I don’t think that GB does, tho.

  5. A player that knows his worth. Why bother if you haven’t and are not going to be an intricate part of the USMNT (and you know YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST MIDFIELDERS IN MLS) or if you are going to be sidelined for inferior talent in the US midfield or if the coaching staff seem to be after a particular Bradley / Trapp like style of play. Some players screw up game after game and are still called up…..yet some players screw up once and are put on ice for a while. If you are going to sacrifice and give your all to the stars and stripes, they have to value your skill and talent, recognize your abilities and give you a reason worth giving your all while sacrificing time with family and friends. If not……IT AIN’T WORTH IT!!!!!

    RESPECT Darlington Nagbe!!!!

    • Respectfully disagree. Any player worthy of wearing our jersey must accept its about team, not me. Even if you’re a fringe player who may or may not get called in to camp. If you are not willing to sacrifice absolutely everything to attain the greatest honor in the game – playing for your country – you do not deserve to be on the team.

      • What’s has berhalter done to be part of the USMNT. Please share his accomplishments… Nagbe, Adams said no thank you because they want to grow as players not take AYSO directives from a nobody… let’s keep it real… #berhalterOUT

      • “Any player worthy of wearing our jersey must accept its about team,”…..and he did by humbly bowing out and letting them have it. Hahaha, So we are all on the same page…

    • @dcu fan… What does Berhalter’s accomplishments have to do with a player turning down the opportunity to represent his country?

    • Nonsense. Nagbe is acting like a prima Donna. What you’re describing is someone who thinks he’s above the team. Mathis was one of the most gifted players of his generation and he barely played in the 2002 world cup, even after his goal against Korea,but he stood by his coach and teammates.

  6. So then stop ignoring Chandler, who is more committed to USA than Nagbe. And yes, chandler fought his club everytime to be with USMNT.

    • you shouldn’t have to fight your club team to go play internationally. per walter sobchak this isn’t nam there are rules.


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