There’s been a lot of debate across the globe about soccer stars defecting from the nation of birth to play for other teams, a plague that’s been particularly prominent among Brazilian players, many of whom now suit up for European powers (Marcos Sena with Spain or Deco and Nani with Portugal). But while the trend had spread far and wide across Europe, it had yet to really have an impact in North America. Well, consider those days officially over, after Chicago teenage stud and Borrusia Dortmund (Germany) defender Neven Subotic officially pledged his international allegiance to Serbia, not the U.S.
The fact that Subotic chose to play for another nation instead of the U.S. is his own prerogative, and it isn’t even unprecedented. Giuseppe Rossi was born in New Jersey but opted to play for the country of his parents’ birth — defending World Cup champion Italy — rather the the nation he was raised in.
Still, there’s a big difference between Rossi and Subotic. Rossi chose to spurn the U.S. to play with the defending world champions. It’s hard to turn down that opportunity, particularly when you’ve been playing in the Italian professional league and you’re going to be given a real shot at eventually playing on the senior national team. Subotic dumped the U.S. for Serbia.