Giuseppi Rossi, after brazenly posing for ESPN magazine with a ball painted with the US flag earlier this month, was cut from the final Italy squad today. While I know that he never intended nor ever said that he would play for the US, his celebrations after scoring against the US in the Confederations Cup was entirely disrespectful and deserved the criticism he received from US fans. After all, he was born and raised here. In my opinion, if he wants to play for Italy, that's his prerogative, but to disrespect the country of his birth is an entirely different offense. Also, he continues to say things such as feeling American off the field, but being Italian on the field. Huh? I know that he will probably make the WC in 2014 (if not this year as an injury sub) but for at least the next 4 years, I am happy that justice has been served.
Neven Subotic is a different case altogether. Though he was born in Yugoslavia to Serbian parents, he also spent some time in Germany before moving to the US. Here, he played for the US in the U-17 FIFA World Championship but was controversially not selected for the U-20 squad. This likely led to him turning his back on the US and deciding instead to play for Serbia. I don't have nearly the same feelings toward Subotic as I do against Rossi. Subotic was not born in the US and only spent his teenage years here. His parents are not from here. And unfortunately, he was rejected from upward mobility in the US ranks. He should be, in every way, free to choose. Unlike Rossi, Subotic will be playing in the World Cup this year and it could be especially interesting if Serbia and the US happen to meet in the 2nd round.
Personally, I think that a player should only play for his country of birth. If he chooses to play for another (and FIFA's current rules apply), then he must give up citizenship first in the country of his birth. Dual citizenships is a ridiculous idea to begin with. You must be loyal to one and only one. (If there was a war, who do you fight for anyway?) Rossi should be made to give up the privilege of his US citizenship. Should he do that, I would no longer have any problem with him.
One thing I love about the US is the fact that we are a blend of different cultures. In most other countries, one's ethnicity and one's nationality are the same. To be Mexican is to be one in race and nationality. In America, we are free from such narrow-minded thinking. We are ethnically whatever our parents are, but we are American in our nationality. It is not race that bonds us together but instead it is the freedom of opportunity that this great country represents. Our loyalties should never be about what we are born as, it should be what we believe in. In essence, we are better than that.
Our national soccer team represents this blend so well. Look at the immigrant parents of so many of our players. Most came here for a better life.
Landon Donovan - father from Canada.
Tim Howard - mother from Hungary.
Oguchi Onyewu - parents from Nigeria.
Stuart Holden - born in Scotland, moved here at age of 10.
Ricardo Clark - father from Trinidad & Tobago.
Benny Feilhaber - born in Brazil to Brazilian mother and Jewish-Austrian Brazilian father. Moved here at age of 6.
Jose Francisco Torres - father from Mexico.
Jozy Altidore - parents from Haiti.
Edson Buddle - father from Jamaica.
Robbie Findley - parents from Trinidad & Tobago.
Carlos Bocanegra - father possibly from Mexico?
Jonathan Bornstein - Jewish and Mexican heritage.
Herculez Gomez - Mexican-American parents.