Monday, October 27, 2008

Good News for Bob Bradley: Subotic Can't Play for Germany

Borussia Dortmund's Neven Subotic, that Yugoslav born, American raised striker, who has been on form for his club and expressing regular interest in playing internationally for Germany (and having interest for Joachim Loew) has been rule ineligible to play for Germany as a naturalized citizen. Subotic had appeared for the US as a U-17 international, but some sort of falling out occurred between Subotic and U.S. Soccer such that Subotic has not been open to calls from Bob Bradley and U.S. Soccer about playing for the Red, White and Blue. Chris Courtney writes:
The basis of the decision is that in 2005, Subotic had played in a U-17 match for the USA. So, after first participating in an international competition, he is ineligible to play only for countries of which he was already a citizen; Serbia or the USA (or possibly Bosnia). Once he plays in a full international match for one of these three countries, he is only eligible to play for them for the rest of his career.

So, will Subotic decide to line up alongside Oguchi Onyewu in central defense for the Stars and Stripes who appear to be cruising toward World Cup Qualification? Will Bob Bradley call him in for the USA's next World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on November 19th?

Or, will he decide to cast his lot with the White Eagles, currently in a 4-way tie for second in a tough qualifying group which includes France, Romania, Austria, and current group leader Lithuania? We may find out soon if coach Radomir Antic calls him in for the November 19th friendly against Bulgaria.
Okay, Bob Bradley has some real thinking to do in the next two weeks. Should he campaign to bring in a player who has spurned the U.S.? I think so.

But here is the problem. Subotic won't see much time for the U.S. in the next couple of years. At 19, he will probably be eligible for the U.S. Olympic team (U-23) for 2012 and is more likely to be a regular come the 2014 World Cup. Bradley has all but penned in his starting back line of Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra, and Pearce for the 2010 World Cup and certainly for the next round of qualifying. Will Subotic, who regularly sees 90 minutes of time for Borussia Dortmund, be willing to take a back seat for the next four years to Gooch and Boca?

To be sure, I think that there will be some lobbying for Subotic in the next couple of weeks. If Subotic is called in against Guatamala, Bradley's two goals will be to 1) win against the Guatamalan in Denver and 2) cap tie Subotic just like Bradley did with Jose Torres against Cuba.

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