Bernardo raises doubt over USMNT future

VincenzoBernardo1 

by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

Vincenzo Bernardo has a decision to make.

Despite comments earlier in his career about wanting to suit up for the U.S., and contrary to some reports, Bernardo has yet to decide if he wants to play for the United States or Italy at the senior level.

In an exclusive interview with SBI, Bernardo revealed that his decision is far from made.

"I wouldn't say that I declared anything really," Bernardo said, referring to comments he made in 2007 on choosing the U.S. over Italy. "I was asked an important question that came when I was very young in my career. However, I do not regret anything I said regarding wanting to represent USA."

Bernardo's latest comments are sure to worry some American fans, who are all too familiar with drawing the short end of the stick when it comes to talented young players with dual citizenship. In 2008 alone, the U.S. lost two talented prospects, Giuseppe Rossi (Italy) and Neven Subotic (Serbia), to European countries.

Unlike Rossi and Subotic though, Bernardo has come out publicly and stated that his choice still remains in the hands of the U.S. Soccer Federation and U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen.

"My decision lies heavily on the U-20 cycle with USA," Bernardo said in an interview via email with SBI.

That U-20 cycle has not started well for Bernardo in 2009. In January, reports surfaced that Bernardo and three other players had been dismissed by Rongen from a U.S. training camp held in Sunrise, Fl. due to disciplinary reasons.

However, the latest disappointment came earlier this week when Bernardo failed to get called into the U-20 national team camp in Bradenton, Fl., home of the U.S. residency program. The 20-player team is making its final preparations for the U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament which starts in Trinidad and Tobago on March 6.

Bernardo would not disclose whether it was Napoli which prevented him from playing in the qualifying tournament or if Rongen decided to omit him from the team (A U.S. Soccer source told SBI that Bernardo was not chosen).

"I was told by the people around me not to comment on that question," Bernardo said.

Bernardo, who has his own website, also said that his ultimate short term goal is to play in the U-20 World Cup in Egypt in the fall.

"Today being almost three years older and more mature on and off the field, I've realized how important this decision is for me so I will take into serious consideration both options," Bernardo said. 

"I do feel the same way as I did back in 2007, but I would say that I am more aware of the situation."

Bernardo is in no rush to make a decision. He has until his 21st birthday, May 22nd of 2011, to declare for a national team.

What do you think of Bernardo's comments? Shocked? Think the USSF/Rongen is letting another star-in-the-making get away? Do you see Bernardo suiting up for USA when everything is all said and done?

Share your thoughts below.

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139 Responses to Bernardo raises doubt over USMNT future

  1. AltiCooper says:

    Not again…

  2. Dannyc58 says:

    That sucks, but at the same time we can’t let players basically dictate who is called up. I find it hard to believe Subotic wasn’t good enough for the last WC team though, so I tend to think Rongen is an idiot…

  3. arkjayback says:

    If he’s not called in for the U-20 World Cup, then Rongen needs to be fired. I hate for it to sound like one thing will decide Rongen’s fate. But he did screw up when he didn’t call in Subotic, will he really get off the hook again if he doesn’t call in Bernardo?

  4. FC Uptown says:

    What is Rongen saying about this? He seems to be the common denominator in each of these situations.

  5. fubar says:

    Hey Vinny – are you reading this? Yes – I think you are putting the pressure on Rongen and good for you.

    Let’s see if we can push all the way back to Holland…

    Were you, Naz and Mookie out chasing girls after curfew or just knocking back a few beers?

  6. Zac says:

    So how many players is USSF going to let Rongen drive off before they do something about it?

  7. Barry U says:

    The real question here is can this kid play? That should be the ultimate question cuase if he can’t play for us (Subotic thing aside becuase Serbia vs. Italy big difference) then how in the world is he going to play for Italy. Anybody got insight into that? I hope he picks us but and that he can play. But if he can’t he is not suiting up for nobody.

  8. Joel says:

    Let’s get off Rongen’s back on the Neven Subotic issue. Subotic is a big baby and obviously held a grudge. He needs to get over it!

  9. AJ says:

    Tough to compare this one to Rossi who was clearly never really interested in the US. However, if Rongen can be blamed for losing Subotic and Bernardo by not calling them for major tournaments, its time for him to go.

    The point of the U-20 is to develop players for the senior NT. Losing major players with dual citizen is not going to help there.

  10. RK says:

    AltiCooper, I feel the same way.

  11. Oranje Mike says:

    This article was the first I ever heard of Bernardo. Should I care? My only concern is that the USA seems to be losing players at the U20 levels. What’s going on? What is driving these players away?

  12. Jed says:

    How much do any of you know about him? Do you think just b/c he plays in Italy he’s 1 – deserving of being on the U20 team and 2 – going to be a star

    There are plaenty of young american kids going over to europe these days out of HS and even before it… they won’t all become superstars… don’t be ignorant here – you have to trust the coaches at some point to do what’s best for the team and its players to succeed.

  13. PCFC says:

    I know the disciplinary actions affected Bryan Arguez as well, but he got called up by Rongen. So it appears to be beyond behavioral issues.

  14. Michael F. says:

    Rongen has to go.
    As FC Uptown notes, he is the common denominator in each of these situations.
    He pissed of Subotic and now this.
    C’mon Sunil, can his ass.

  15. Chrös says:

    Who is this guy, and does he even have a legitimate chance to play for Italy?

  16. Mike says:

    Get rid of Rongen. He is about to cost us another talented player, just like he did with Subotic. What is it the Federation sees in this guy? What has he ever won? What players has HE ever produced? If he costs us a true No. 10 Italian playmaker, we’d need to ship him back to the Netherlands ASAP!

  17. JCC says:

    This does indeed sound like bad news, but my only concern is that younger players that have dual citizenship will start to hold the USSF hostage with their eligibility. It could become a case where players will start to tell US coaches, “Play me or else”, which wouldn’t be good for the program in my opinion. I personally don’t think Rongen is that great of a coach, but I also don’t agree with him being pressured by players to just add them to the national team, if maybe they don’t deserve to be called up.

  18. michael says:

    Interesting, because there was an ESPN article this week that says the exact opposite of this article.

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

    I think its just politics as usual.

  19. Miguel says:

    Is it a coincidence that all these guys come out of New Jersey? I think not!

  20. gmen04 says:

    I echo the sentiments of most, Rongen seems to be the common denominatior in these situations. While no player should hold a coach’s decision hsotage, Rongen seems to be an alienating figure. Time for USSF to shake the status quo and get rid of him

  21. Did anyone else check out his webpage? It’s full of nothing but pics of him in the US uniform.

    I hope he’s good enough to make our u-20 squad but not good enough to play for Italy–until he’s no longer eligible for Italy that is!

  22. Matt C says:

    Thankfully, we advanced to the point where we shouldn’t just be calling in players to lock them up. Maybe, just maybe, they’re not as good as the other players in camp?

    Maybe he’s a pain in the ass and disciplanary problem. Unless i see a player play many times, i’m going to give the coach (and his staff) the benefit of the doubt when it comes to player selection. They see and interact with the players far me than us out in internet land.

    Finally, I haven’t read that Italy is banging on his door for a junior call-up.

  23. Tim says:

    And how exactly does Bernardo think he’s good enough to play for Italy in a position where there are players like Fernando Forestieri, Davide Di Gennaro, etc. waiting in the wings? Those two are far more special players and yet can’t even get minutes for the U21 team!

  24. The one and only Mighty says:

    IS this dude any good? Has anyone seen him playing?

  25. JB says:

    Rongen gets a lot of flack unfairly over Subotic. But, Subotic wasn’t good enough 2 years ago. Now, he made a meteoric rise in quality in his last year with Mainz, but he wasn’t good enough in 2007.

  26. respect the badge says:

    Play for Italy? dought it. Play for the US Mens team, maybe at best… The mens team has a playmaker who is under 20 and he cant find the field, who, it is pretty safe to assume is much better than this kid.

  27. brandon says:

    rongen redux. its happening again!

  28. northzax says:

    given that his own website refers to the fact that his knee is banged up (he played only a half in his last game listed for the New York Stars to ‘prevent damage to his knee” then maybe Rongen decided not to risk a slot on an injured player?

  29. nate says:

    1.) No way in God’s name would this unkown punk ever play for the World Cup champion Italians.

    2.) I could care less about him choosing Italy, but how about we STOP WASTING DOLLARS, RESOURCES, COACHING TIME, AND A SPOT FOR ANOTHER TRUE BLOODED AMERICAN PROSPECT for this wanker?

  30. TK says:

    You guys kill me.

    The kid has done nothing. He is not even close to Rossi’s accomplishments at this age and even NS was getting Mainz games before the U20 WC.

    PR spin by his agent. The kid hasn’t played a minute for the Primavera team over there. 12 million fluff pieces and no substance at all.

    His agent is doing a great job. TR handled the Neven situation stupidly…no doubt, but this is funny, and watching you little kids yell and scream is even funnier.

    The PR machine has gone into overdrive when he wasn’t named to qualies.

    Yeah, he’s gonna play for Italy. Not close to first team football, not a minute for the Primevera team (that excuse is the coach doesn’t like him – uh huh) and Italy is an option.

    Haha. In what universe? Italy is as close of an option to him right now as Pluto is to the sun.

    What a bunch of gull-a-bulls you all are.

    Hilarious.

  31. Brian says:

    Guys.. Bernardo isn’t even playing for the primavera side. There is no indication that his guy is even good. He isn’t playing anywhere. How do we know he is any good?

  32. FK PIRIN says:

    It seems to me that the more time as a youth that you spend in another country, them more you will feel like it is your real home. I suspect that is what has happened to Bernardo. The fact that he has an Italian background makes it even stronger.

    Even if he is a good player, I don’t think it is worth reducing discipline in the US program to take on the talent. I think the reason why the US can win as much as it does has a lot to do with discipline, and adding one player who every other player knows didn’t have to maintain discipline would be horrible for the team. The marginal increase in talent that a player like Bernardo might bring isn’t worth the drop in team discipline.

  33. BellusLudas says:

    Players should have to decide earlier…they sign for clubs much earlier…why not the national team?

  34. lorenzo says:

    you can read this and find yourself back at square 1

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

    There are so many other things going on and you choose to write this schlock?

  35. Steve0 says:

    Ives,

    I don’t understand why you keep saying US lost Rossi. He never played for US Youth teams nor said he will play for the USA.

  36. Matt says:

    I’m not worried about losing him. US is just too large to keep every player with dual citizenship and every player with US citizenship and give them all the amount of playing time they want. Someone will always fall through the cracks. The kid isn’t even getting playing time at the club level so I’m not convinced yet that this guy is the next Messi/Subotic. All he has is a PR guy.

  37. nate says:

    Maybe he meant San Marino, not Italy?

  38. Angel says:

    Is all Rogen Fault again, Please we need some good coach that has a good eyes for talent. Bob Bradley Please used El Salvador, or Trinidad Tobago games as to lock this players in the Senior National Team or are we going to loose a few more players..I freaking tired of this.

  39. Hello??? says:

    For those who are critical of U20 program or Rongen because of this kid, why don’t any of you have any opinion about what really matters, how good is this kid?

    Anyone?

    I’m still waiting…..

  40. Chase says:

    As someone else just said, this is contrary to a piece by Ravi Ubha on the US section of Soccernet, where he seems quite comfortable playing for the US and doesn’t ever mention switiching to Italy. He says:

    “I want to win something big for the U.S. because we haven’t won anything. Even at the U-20 level we have a lot of talent, and I think we have the possibility of winning something very important, a World Cup or whatever. At the moment I feel the U.S. has shown me more trust as a player, and I just feel real comfortable wearing the red, white and blue.”

    Its a good read. He has 4 goals and 8 assists in 15 appearaces for the Napoli Youth Team. Though did anyone else know that this kid is only 5’6? Pretty diminutive.

  41. Steve0 says:

    Who has seen him play?

    and is he any good?

  42. Tim says:

    A talent scout apparently said that he was a less powerful version of Miccoli. Playing for Italy is not even an option for him and comparing him to Rossi is frankly insulting to the latter. While this may sound harsh, it bothers me when players fuel hype like this. Try proving yourself n the pitch as opposed to making thinly veiled threats with reporters. Does this kid seriously not know what it takes to play for Italy? Even Davide Santon has not been called up for the U21 side!

  43. Ives says:

    Two points:

    I’m not sure when Ravi Uhba’s story was written, or when his interview with Bernardo took place, but I can say that Bernardo’s answers in the SBI article came on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Could things have changed for Bernardo since his interview with Uhba? Perhaps. Could he be posturing? Possibly.

    Also, regarding Rossi, while it is true that Rossi never played for the youth national teams growing up, he was still an American citizen and was born here and lived here until he was 14. Now he plays for Italy. If he isn’t playing for the United States given his history then he was lost. Not sure how that can be argued.

  44. Brian says:

    TK’s post is the best post here. Good work.

    Bernardo has a great PR man. I give the kid tremendous credit for that. This kid is hyped and doesn’t even play anywhere.

    My message to Bernardo is to let your play on the field to the talking. The US is certainly open to you.. just go out there and find somewhere to play and prove you are good enough. That will take care of everything.

  45. Angel says:

    You people don’t understand that if we start winning tournament like U17 all the way U20 and the Olimpic so the world start paying attention and respect to United State (USNMT) . Country like Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Look at Nigeria, Holland, other country that won all this tournament some of then haven’t wont the big one (World Cup) But country look at them with respect. So we can start loosing players that have talent, I not saying that coach have to give to this player as hostage to their need but we have to pamper them a little bit so we can secure in the future. Bob Bradley need to keep eyes on this new talent kid and start calling to secure them for the USNMT. No more Rossi, Castillo, Sobutic, and other that some will defect from our youth system. I think Cabrera will be the right coach for the U20. Start the new era will more Latino Flavor. He has a good eyes for talent either latino or Other culture.

  46. Brian says:

    Good for Thomas. He needs to pick the best team, not the kids with multiple passports who have the best agents and handlers.

    Let’s focus on kids with skills in passing, not pouting.

  47. Matthew says:

    Is he even good enough to have a “choice” to play for Italy? I mean he’s not rated nearly as high as Rossi or Subotic were at this point in their careers.

    I’m calling his bluff, he can either go to Egypt with the US U-20’s or stay home summer. Those are his only “choices”.

  48. madmax says:

    Recent comments from Rongen that he only wants players that are 100% committed to USA will not help. Young players have a lot on their plate, and they should not be bullied about. Perhaps Rongen just doesn’t have the ability to walk in their shoes.

  49. brandon says:

    for everyone that says, this kid is bluffing he’s not good enough, lets remember that in 2005 subotic was languishing on the bench at a bundesliga 2 side, subotic had talent that went unnoticed by the us, does bernardo have the same type of upside? is rongen the best we have at a u-20 level to judge that talent?

  50. Turtle says:

    TK – post of the day.

  51. jmac says:

    How can people possibly say that in two years Subotic suddenly became not good enough to MAKE the U-20 squad to becoming a bundisliga standout but that Rongen wasn’t incorrect for not selecting him!? Yes, players do develop over time, but to become how good Subotic is now, Subotic HAD to have considerable talent 2 years before, especially compared to all the no-names that eventually made the roster at CB.

    In my mind, its unequivocal that Rongen completely messed up on Subotic. Hopefully, he isn’t doing the same with this kid.

    Also, didn’t Bryan Arguez (one of the other supposed trouble makers) make the training camp??

  52. Matt C says:

    TK, I generally agree with your assessment. However, i think you are wrong on one perception. I, like you apparenlty, expected to open up the comments section and see post after post hammering TR and glorifying this kid we know little about. However, to my surprise, i think about 70% of the posts on here have been of the “who cares, who is he anyway and we know nothing of him” sort. So, when you say “you guys kill me”, i think you’re preaching to a small minority…..thankfully.

    Carry on

  53. Tom P says:

    Why do we freak out about this? They are kids and they make their own choices.

    They owe us nothing legally and we act like insecure idiots every time one flirts with choosing another.

    We play with the ones who are proud and determined to put on the red, white and blue jersey and just wish the others well as they go on their merry way.

    This happens every day around the integrated world we live in so get used to it.

    And Ives- shame on you for fanning the flames on this issue at every opportunity because you know what a insecure bunch we USA soccer fans are and how we precieve everything as a grave insult because of it.

  54. Ed Ho says:

    Ives, I’d really like to see a follow up where you get some info on where he compares to the rest of the players in the U-20 pool at his position. Actually, just an overall piece on the state of the U20 side would be great.

    Also, I don’t think just locking up players from am Intl status that we don’t ever think will contribute is the right answer. We really need to pull in the best players possible with any selection – not just select someone bc they might be good an have dual citizenship. I’ve never geard of this guy before, so I have no perspective on how he may fit.

    I do think the issue Ives raises here is a good one. The US coaches definitely need to consider this aspect.

  55. ECSblows says:

    Is the guy good enough to make the Azzuri?

    Rossi is another story.. the boy has talent and produces..

    It’s bluff time

  56. madmax says:

    The best way to look at Rongen is to look at the defenders he chose in front of Nevin Subotic. Rongen obviously has no eye or way two many prejudices.

  57. Eugene says:

    Rongen should just call the guy and swallow his pride. This is ridiculous. The whole roster for qualifying was ridiculous.

    Damn it, if Rongen needs oversight, he needs oversight! The U-20s are an important formative stage in the careers of our young players, Rongen can’t have all the power in determining who’s in and who’s out, damaging our relationships with some of this up-and-coming talent with dual citizenships.

    He can’t be allowed to piss away some of our most talented players just based on his “vision” or lack of vision. It’s not like Rongen brought us an U-20 WC championship, so his word is and should not be law.

  58. Eugene says:

    Rather Rongen’s word SHOULD NOT be law and the final determination. His judgments have clearly been questionable in the past. It’s just too important for US Soccer to get this right for them to give all the determining power to Thomas.

  59. golkipa says:

    Of course there is the question of whether Vincenzo is good enough and whether Rongen should be pilloried for potentially allowing him to slip away.
    However, the broader question is whether this is an indicator of a larger pattern that demonstrates that Rongen is not competent. In order to make that assessment you’ve got to take a broader sample than just this case and the case of Subotic and Rossi and look at the rest of his career, notably his experience as an MLS head coach and in other roles within the USSF. I believe that after considering his record with Tampa Bay, New England, and DC United as well as the U-20s record under him, you come to the inevitable conclusion that he is mediocre at best.
    Mediocrity at this pivotal transition point between the youth and senior level programs is unacceptable. He should go.

  60. frank says:

    We have no scouts in europe to watch Bernardo train with Napoli’s first team. How do we know anything at this point? With all said, He is training with a Serie A team day in and day out. unlike many of the players on the roster for U20. i feel that bernardo is just making himself heard by saying that nothing is for sure. Good for him

  61. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Here’s the deal: we have many multi-ethnic people in this country. We have limited USA team spots (regardless of level). Someone is always bound to be left out, and then the option is: Do I go elsewhere?

    As fans, we only see “we lost another!” The coach has to figure: is his quality better than anothers? If they are the same, they also look at character. Bernardo–no clue how he is now, was DISMISSED for screwing up. Maybe he still has immaturity. I have no clue, But all those factors and more go into decisions.

    Rossi never seemed to want to play here. Subotic–NOW he looks good, but pehaps Rongen had a good reason to leave him off, and never thought Subotic would bail, either.

    If every player that threatened to leave got picked, what kind of crap is that?

    And yes, Rongen’s decisions should be evaluated, but not on just whether we lose someone or not.

  62. Turtle says:

    I’m confused, and I’m sure someone can enlighten me. He plays in Italy for Napoli? But on his website he’s playing for the New York Stars. i don’t get it.

  63. Tom says:

    I may exercise my Irish passport and spurn the US for Ireland. How does that make you feel? Should Bob Bradley cap me today? Do you want to possibly miss out on a slow, overweight, middle-aged field general?

    I’m 53 I can’t wait forever.

  64. Brian says:

    Rogen is actually a good youth coach. He gets his teams to play well against some very good teams at that age level.

    Our 2003 and 2007 teams played very well against teams like Argentina, Brazil, and other world class teams. Rongen’s teams have played attacking soccer and the players all have shown good fundamentals under him. In 2007, the US team saw many players earn European professional contracts based on their play under Rongen. Adu, Altidore, Szetela, Zizzo, and Arguez (who was only a bench player) all moved overseas afterward. Rogers blossomed in the MLS after Canada. His former youth players all have said they learned a lot from him and enjoyed playing under him.

    People who claim Rongen is a bad U20 coach have no idea what they are talking about. His teams always compete and play good soccer. Something we have lacked in the USA.

    And critizing him for Bernardo also makes no sense. Has anyone seen him play? I bet you haven’t. I read the Ives article and I can’t say I am impressed with Bernardo’s take on the whole thing. I want the kid to just be a man and admit he needs to earn his roster spot.

    I would be impressed with him if he said something along the lines of “I guess I have to raise my game on the field and prove my worth to the coach. I am determined to do that and to make the U20 final roster in September.”

    Saying that how the USSF treats him in this U20 cycle as being the key factor of which country he plays for makes him seem like a brat. It’s a two way street. Why isn’t he taking any form of personal responsibility for making the team through his own play?

    Using a duel passport as a form of a threat to hold over a coach to force inclusion on a national team roster is an major a-hole move, imho. Especially coming from a 18 year old that isn’t playing anywhere.

  65. JeffM says:

    My opinion on these issues is always shaped by how long the player in question has lived in each country. For example, I don’t begrudge Brede Hangeland at all for playing for Norway, because he was only born here and then grew up entirely in Norway. I also would have been fine with Subotic playing for Germany (where he lived for many years), but am mad that we lost him to Serbia (where he lived only shortly as a baby).

    In this case, Bernado lived in Jersey until he was 16! I sure considered myself an American by the time I was 16. And he only moved to Italy to pursue his soccer career. I will be very unhappy if he ends up playing for Italy.

  66. Communist says:

    Thomas Rongen is the Anti Christ.

  67. ryan says:

    rongen is a problem. when a coach gets too big a head (i.e. bruce arena) and starts thinking he is more important to the program than his players, it is time for him to get the heave ho. coaches like rongen and arena play games with players in order to puff up their own egos, and the loser in the situation is the u.s. men’s team. yet another reason why bob bradley is doing such a good job. he gets it. so does the u-17 coach.

  68. Goalscorer24 says:

    This dual citizenship is a nightmare. Because these players know they can use that as a leverage to make a coach chose them. Where do you draw the line on that threat? If he is a good player and he is following the rules, not a continual discinplinary problem, then it is a no brainer. But if he is so so, or feels like he can get away with whatever he wants because he holds that threat of choosing Italy that is an issue.

  69. Brian says:

    Ryan,

    How do you know Bernardo deserved to be on the U20 Qualifying team?

  70. Tom, that made me laugh. Thanks for bringing some hilarity to the situation.

  71. jmac says:

    Getting back to Rossi, weren’t there rumors before WC 06 that Rossi would play for the US if Arena would guarantee him a spot on the WC roster?

    If that’s true, we need to lay some Rossi-blame at Arena’s feet. He brought EJ, an injured John O’Brien, and Eddie Pope to the last WC.

  72. marksonm says:

    to be quite honest ive never heard of the guy until now, but he strikes me as a guy whos just trying to do whats good for him.

    sounds kind of like a situation where Im sure he would be happy playing for the U.S. only given the condition that theres no way a team like Italy would play him. And that if seeing playing time for Italy was ever a possibility for him that he would leave the U.S. for Italy.

    i can understand this, but it strikes me as having no real pride or sense of attachment to the USSF.

    in the end though, whatevver.

  73. Turtle says:

    Brian, stop it. You are making too much sense.

  74. ThaDeuce says:

    TOMORROW, FULHAM V ARSENAL ON FSC AT 8:00 EASTERN!~!
    WOOHOO

  75. brandon says:

    jmac – I’m pretty sure that arena was trying to tempt rossi to the us by giving him a wc roster spot, but he declined the invite. then bruce said something along the lines, ‘he wasn’t going to comment about 18 year olds who think they’ll play for italy’

  76. Tim says:

    Brandon, thank you for posting that Bruce Arena comment about Rossi. Funny stuff.

  77. ryan says:

    whether bernardo deserved to be on the team or not is only one issue here. the larger issue is the disease called rongen. think of this bernardo episode as one more symptom of that requires a speedy diagnosis by dr. sunil.

  78. Turtle says:

    Serioulsy, how does this kid play for Napoli and the New York Stars at the same time?

  79. undrafted says:

    Does Italy have a C team?

  80. Oranje Mike says:

    @jmac…

    The story I hear is that Rossi was offered a chance to be added the the WCQF/WC rosters but turned Arena down. If that’s accurate or not I don’t know.

  81. Tim says:

    He wouldn’t even make the C team. Kids that would play at the senior level for a lot of countries are still waiting to be called up to the U21 level.

  82. Chase says:

    I think both those who are calling for Rongen’s head and those trashing this Bernardo kid are being irrational, no one here has seen enough of this kid to make a judgement on whether he should be on the team or not…quit it with the nonsense…

  83. jig says:

    If he’s really that sick, why not just have bobby b cap him for one of the light hex qualifiers

  84. jmac says:

    thanks for the clarification, brandon. boy has rossi make arena eat those words.

  85. Steve0 says:

    Two points:

    I’m not sure when Ravi Uhba’s story was written, or when his interview with Bernardo took place, but I can say that Bernardo’s answers in the SBI article came on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Could things have changed for Bernardo since his interview with Uhba? Perhaps. Could he be posturing? Possibly.

    Also, regarding Rossi, while it is true that Rossi never played for the youth national teams growing up, he was still an American citizen and was born here and lived here until he was 14. Now he plays for Italy. If he isn’t playing for the United States given his history then he was lost. Not sure how that can be argued.

    Posted by: Ives | February 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    ————————

    Ives

    Rossi was at Parma Youth Academy Dec, 1999. His age was 12yrs and 10 months. Hence at 14 he didn’t live in the USA.

    Also, how can lose someone who left US before he turned 13 and never wanted to play for US, but played for Italy from 2003 and Onwards.

  86. Steve0 says:

    Arena on Rossi

    “We’re not chasing around 18-year-old players that can’t get games for their club team and tell me they want to play for Italy. It’s a futile exercise.”

    Exact Quote.

  87. Jeffrey says:

    Steve, Rossi was almost 13 when he left, 13 when he started playing at Parma. That’s still more than half his life he was born and raised in the United States and you still don’t get why people say we “Lost” him? If you can’t figure that one out then you’re pretty dense.

    And as far as I know, Rossi has spent every single summer since he left back in the United States, so don’t act like the kid has no ties to this country.

  88. jack says:

    it looks like this article was made just for the media attetion!!

    look at his website!!

    http://www.vincenzobernardo.net

  89. lorenzo says:

    thanks for clearing up the conflict with ESPN article, Ives

  90. smokey says:

    bernardo’s a zero, if he was really that good he would already be in the first team or on loan at with someone else’s first team.

    The fact is that though there are occassionally 5 foot nothing players that are special (messi, maradona), in the the modern game he just doesn’t cut it. We need bigger, stronger players…I’d take kljestan and bradley over him anyday…look across europe its all about big strong athletic players at every position…zlatan, ronaldo, yaya toure…etc

  91. Turtle says:

    Napoli is currently in season and yet he’s playing in an international tournament for youth club teams including Inter, Pumas, AaB, QPR plus many more italian and international sides. He wasn’t representing Napoli. They weren’t in the tournament. He was playing for the New York Stars (according to his own website).

    What’s the deal? Something doesn’t seem right. Anybody know more about the NY team?

  92. Tim says:

    Jeffrey, the only kinds of players you lose are the ones you DEVELOP. Rossi was developed by an Italian club to become an Italian youth international. Had he settled for the US after playing for Italian youth teams for 5 years, we would have been stealing him from Italy. Sorry, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. And if being born in and spending a good part one’s life in another country obligates one to play for that country, what do you make of Freddy Adu? But he was never developed by Ghana, so we didn’t steal him, just like we never developed Rossi and therefore didn’t lose him. It was always going to be Italy or nothing with him.

  93. Brian says:

    Bernardo is a hype machine but has little to back it up.

    Rossi was owning the EPL reserve team for Man U. Bernardo isn’t even playing for the Premavera side.

    He wasn’t loaned out in January (despite Bernardo and his agent in December saying there was lots of interest).

    People really need to stop blaming Rongen. Bernardo has to earn a roster spot and he still has a chance between now and the U20 World Cup.

    I am actually happy with the players we do have.

  94. kpugs says:

    I can’t find any evidence that Italy even wants him. I could be wrong.

    But at least other countries were literally clamoring for Rossi and Subotic. Who is this kid to basically demand to play for the U-20s when Italy hasn’t even shown interest (again, unless I’m wrong)?

    This doesn’t endear him to me, running his mouth like this. However, if he does actually have a shot with Italy, I will not hold this interview against him. But Rossi played for Italy at youth levels.

  95. Turtle says:

    Just saw this post on his website:

    Vincenzo Bernardo on http://www.soccerbyives.com interview

    February 27, 2009

    Vincenzo Bernardo said that he was misrepresented in his statements on the site http://www.soccerbyives.com. In the article, states Vincenzo having doubt with his decision to represent U.S.A.; which is false. He ASSURES to be very happy to be part of the U.S.A program and declares that this is his first choice TODAY, AND IN THE FUTURE. Vincenzo therefore rejects any statement opposite to that thought.

  96. Matt says:

    His official website is saying that his statements on Soccerbyives were “misconstrued” and his first choice for now and the future is the US.

    That still doesn’t answer the question of how good he is though…

  97. Beto says:

    definitely if I were him … I rather play for Italy no Doubt !!

  98. John Fish says:

    You can’t lose something that was never yours to begin with, Ives. Yes, Rossi was born and raised here until he was a young teenager. However, he was never going to play for us. Plain and simple. There is nothing USSF could’ve done. He never played in our youth setup and signed on with Parma as a teen.

    The USSF did reach out to him. He and his father had his heart set on Italy. So to put him alongside Subotic and this kid is disingenuous in that it suggests that USSF is somehow responsible. You are a decent writer and I like your blog and visit every day. I wish you would just acknowledge this reality.

  99. brett says:

    Turtle – noticed that too….

    the drama continues….

  100. Turtle says:

    From the website bearing his name (I wouldn’t call it his website becasue it’s probably closer to his agents website):

    “Vincenzo therefore rejects any statement opposite to that thought.”

    so I guess these quotes by Gianfranco are the “thoughts” he is rejecting:

    “I wouldn’t say that I declared anything really,” Bernardo said, referring to comments he made in 2007 on choosing the U.S. over Italy. “I was asked an important question that came when I was very young in my career. However, I do not regret anything I said regarding wanting to represent USA.”

    And:

    “My decision lies heavily on the U-20 cycle with USA.” ,

    Kid, get a new agent and/or PR and fast.

  101. Tim says:

    kpugs, you are not incorrect. As far as we know, Italy could care less about Bernardo.

  102. Isaac says:

    link to youtube.com

    Only thing I could find on the kid…

  103. JimsJoint says:

    Watcha wanna bet we never hear from this kid again?

  104. Cory says:

    Turtle, napoli loaned bernardo to the ny team so he could participate in the tournament

  105. Steve0 says:

    Jeffrey, the only kinds of players you lose are the ones you DEVELOP. Rossi was developed by an Italian club to become an Italian youth international. Had he settled for the US after playing for Italian youth teams for 5 years, we would have been stealing him from Italy. Sorry, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. And if being born in and spending a good part one’s life in another country obligates one to play for that country, what do you make of Freddy Adu? But he was never developed by Ghana, so we didn’t steal him, just like we never developed Rossi and therefore didn’t lose him. It was always going to be Italy or nothing with him.

    Posted by: Tim | February 27, 2009 at 02:50 PM

    =======================================>

    Thank you Tim !

  106. Eugene says:

    Ives, Ives to the courtesy phone, Vincenzo’s agent is playing games with you again just like he’s been playing games with many of us for months now.

    Like Turtle, I also just saw the comment on Vincenzo’s website. Of course, no native English speaker wrote that, so we are all being whipped about by the Machiavellian delusions of Bernardo’s agent.

    It still doesn’t change what I wrote earlier about Rongen needing oversight. It just makes no sense to get against a teenager with dual citizenship who is doing pretty decently in his career. Sure Bernardo may not be playing full time with Napoli’s first team, but he apparently is with the Primavera squad and he does apparently have a professional contract with the club. Personally, I would gamble on including key kids with dual citizenships and excluding a comparable kid just with American citizenship. Because you can always go back to the Clint Dempsey you (Rongen) left of the squad and invite him back in at a senior level. But if the dual-citizenship player (Subotic) flies the coop, there’s no getting him back in.

    I like Rongen as a coach, I think he does very good work at the youth level and brings some great European/Ajax perspective to the preparation of our U-20s teams, but I can’t deny that the kids playing defense in the last cycle were exposed and could have been helped by a Subotic.

    I’m NO fan of Subotic. However, Subotic was rightfully upset about Rongen calling him out in the media and publicizing criticisms of him. Thus far, Rongen has not publicly called out any particular player to the media in this cycle. BUT he has called out ALL of the players publicly in this cycle numerous times when he’s gone on record saying ‘there are no “special” players in this U-20s cycle… this time we’ll have a very workman-like approach to the team.’ I believe that was stated in some ESPNSoccernet articles, I know for a FACT that it was stated to Glenn Davis in his radio show in Houston.

  107. TK says:

    These nin-come-poops and ultra-maroons need to wonder about superboys attitude to.

    His Prima coach has an issue with him and he got kicked out of the last U20 camp.

    Grand. I wanna hire his agent. This is classic. SydFinchesque.

    I don’t play for my team. They let me play in some amateur tourney on cow fields for the NY Stars and we are gonna lose him to Italy! Haha!

    LOL. My belly aches.

  108. Steve0 says:

    You can’t lose something that was never yours to begin with, Ives. Yes, Rossi was born and raised here until he was a young teenager. However, he was never going to play for us. Plain and simple. There is nothing USSF could’ve done. He never played in our youth setup and signed on with Parma as a teen.

    The USSF did reach out to him. He and his father had his heart set on Italy. So to put him alongside Subotic and this kid is disingenuous in that it suggests that USSF is somehow responsible. You are a decent writer and I like your blog and visit every day. I wish you would just acknowledge this reality.

    Posted by: John Fish | February 27, 2009 at 03:08 PM

    ======================================

    Well Said. John Fish.

  109. Turtle says:

    TK – I’ve trying to figure out how he played in that tournament with the NY Stars while being under contract with napoli until 2011 (according to his Biography on the website bearing his name). I can’t find a mention of him on the Napoli website. I’m really curious of his actual status with that team. Sounds like hype to me. For me there are more questions about this kid than anything.

    And then the-website-bearing-his-name comes out and says this website misrepresented his interview (that was conducted in writing!!!) and he absolutely wants to play for the USA.

    I think “his people” have under-estimated A) the outrageous pride of US soccerfan and B) the power of Ives’ blog.

  110. Adam says:

    he is rejecting all of this:

    link to vincenzobernardo.net

    said that the US is his first choice.

  111. DejaVu says:

    Napoli is the same team that “signed” Gaddafi’s son..

  112. Peter says:

    Vincenzo Bernardo on http://www.soccerbyives.net interview
    February 27, 2009
    Vincenzo Bernardo said that he was misrepresented in his statements on the site http://www.soccerbyives.com. In the article, states Vincenzo having doubt with his decision to represent U.S.A.; which is false. He ASSURES to be very happy to be part of the U.S.A program and declares that this is his first choice TODAY, AND IN THE FUTURE. Vincenzo therefore rejects any statement opposite to that thought.

  113. brett says:

    TK – the primavera coach is taking heat on multiple things, one of which is the exclusion of Bernardo… or at least this is the stuff ive picked up from multiple boards….

    im not about to begin to say i know anything, b/c as far as this kid goes, there isnt any news…. but its prevalent that Napoli and their head coach are pretty high on the kid… especially since they wouldnt let some teams from Serie B buy him when they were trying to loan him out this winter….

  114. erik says:

    February 27, 2009
    Vincenzo Bernardo said that he was misrepresented in his statements on the site http://www.soccerbyives.com. In the article, states Vincenzo having doubt with his decision to represent U.S.A.; which is false. He ASSURES to be very happy to be part of the U.S.A program and declares that this is his first choice TODAY, AND IN THE FUTURE. Vincenzo therefore rejects any statement opposite to that thought.

    (source: link to vincenzobernardo.net )

  115. Isaac says:

    This is a wild thought, but I think Dutch coaches have a very good eye for offensive talent as opposed to defensive stability. He didn’t choose Subotic because he didn’t have a very good sense of what a defense really needs. He understands what the attack needs. It needs creative, technical players (at least the way Rongen plays). At the last U-20 world cup USA was doing so well in terms of attack, the defense never had to worry because the attack was that good and could hold possesion. However in the end bad defensive play led to the U.S. getting knocked out. If Rongen doesn’t believe Bernardo is good enough to come in as a forward/midfielder (which I think is his position), I trust his decision on that.

    Again this is just a wild thought….

  116. GE says:

    Abdus/Fuad Ibrahim didn’t get called up either. Maybe he’ll go native and suit up for Canada?

  117. RSL208 says:

    Haha, he’s just stirring up some publicity. He’ll play for the states.

  118. Jacob A. says:

    “Attualmente, è in forza alla primavera del Napoli”

    That’s from the info section of that youtube video someone posted earlier, and with my admittedly rusty Italian, I believe the video’s poster thinks fondly of him, as I think that means “Also, he is a force in the Primavera for Napoli”. I could also be well off.

  119. adam says:

    RONGEN COME ON!

  120. Luke in NC says:

    Yeah you gotta have standards and discipline on the youth squads…..but the goal is to help develop players for the nation. Sounds like Rongen might just be screwing up the main point of his job.

  121. Nathan says:

    Rongen has to stand up to players like Arguez and Bernardo because if he doesnt then there will be no discipline in the team. Look at how many college football athletes were arrested last year. The coaches let them do whatever they wanted to and they ended up arrested and useless to their team and coach

  122. Michael S says:

    Check Bernado’s official website. He says that he has been misrepresented on this site and is completely committed to the US. That’s a pretty quick response I would say. Someone is checking SBI often in his camp.

    link to vincenzobernardo.net

  123. jmart says:

    I’ve got a question that somebody may know. If a person has dual citizenship and has not declared a country to represent, and is over 21, what happens? Or is a person forced by FIFA to make at decision when he/she turns 21.

  124. Tim says:

    If he hasn’t been capped provisionally by age 21, a player is then free to play for any country of which he has citizenship (only one, mind you ;)) I don’t think FIFA actually forces you to declare your nationality upon turning 21.

  125. Scott A says:

    Beto, I would rather play for San Marino than Mexico

  126. This Guy says:

    I can attest to the skills of Vini.

    On my Footy Manager 2009 my max level Potential Ability Scout says that he would be a starter for most Premier League teams in the future.

    I think the kid’s been getting beaten up on in here. He’s not Eddie Johnson. Who my max level scout said has the potential to be a star in the Premier League. You can’t argue with that. EJ has more potential than anyone. Will we ever see it though?

  127. oh danny boy says:

    Can someone explain to me why all the sudden we are a farm system for Europe now. What’s the problem with the US not getting any loyalty from these young players?

  128. This Guy says:

    Tim,

    You’re right. Look at Amauri with Juve. He is Brasilian and was 27 when Italy wanted to get him naturalized. He now is getting called up by Brazil though.

  129. Farrukh Quraishi says:

    I think that it is wonderful that there is so much interest in the national teams programs and that people have a forum for expressing their opinions. However, I take issue with the personal attacks on Thomas Rongen’s knowledge of the game and his ability to identify talent. It was Thomas Rongen, as head coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny, who identified, drafted and developed Steve Ralston out of FIU when MLS first started. Thomas also identified and selected Frankie Hejduk in the same draft. Both players have been among the very best and most consistent players in the short history of MLS. Has he made any mistakes? Sure, but who hasn’t? It’s very easy to be an armchair critic. Cut the guy some slack. Coaching is not an exact science and the beauty of the game lies in the differing opinions about players, tactics and teams.

  130. MLS STL says:

    This may have been posted already. But on his personal website, there is a section that says that it refutes the article posted by http://www.soccerbyives.net saying that he will stay within the U.S. national team pool. So essentially everyone is bickering over nothing.

  131. IvarsClam says:

    Could somebody post that link to whatever it said on this third string Italians personal Facespace Linkiden site… Thanks bro

    Jah!

  132. Ted says:

    Bernardo is a normal lock starter on the U-20 team and has been for the majority of the cycle. Check the match reports.

    The statement on his Web site is interesting.

  133. TK says:

    for everyone that says, this kid is bluffing he’s not good enough, lets remember that in 2005 subotic was languishing on the bench at a bundesliga 2 side, subotic had talent that went unnoticed by the us, does bernardo have the same type of upside? is rongen the best we have at a u-20 level to judge that talent?

    NS spent the fall “languishing” on the FIRST TEAM BENCH. Then he played the WHOLE spring. His FIRST TEAM coach backed him all of the way from the day he was there.

    There is nothing remotely close to this. Napoli treats him like an after thought.

    How the NY Stars doing? Can’t even play for the reserve team (Prima). If you make comparisons at least make real ones.

    Still laughing at this board in general. So little understanding of particular players and what their situations were. Ignorance and strong opinions abound. LOL stuff.

  134. This Guy says:

    TK,

    Mainz is no Napoli. Napoli is one of the top in the World at producing. They ran into some trouble a couple years back and aren’t as recognized by the newcomers to the World of Football but don’t compare Mainz and Napoli.

  135. tony says:

    something is fishy defenetly, iwas athe camp in sunrise and what happened to tab ramos the assistant coach? bernardo is only 18 and with far more talent and experiance than most; andyou can take that to the bank.

  136. madmax says:

    Thomas Rongen would do everyone a favor if he listed the CD’s he picked over Nevin and why he considered them superior, (don’t hold your breath).
    USSF needs to look at Rongen’s last statement that players need to be 100% committed to USA before he’ll consider them. They’re teenagers, and FIFA lets them go to 21 before they decide why can’t Rongen?

  137. jojo says:

    Maybe these Euro-Gringos would rather not have to come back to the States for qualifiers to just get hacked around by the likes of Mexico?

  138. Ives says:

    For those of you wondering, SBI will be addressing the Bernardo story on Monday.

  139. tomas says:

    This kid plays in Italy for a mid-table team and Altidore trains with Villarreal, yet players like Brian Ching and Taylor Twellman start WC qualifiers and Rongen – who’s missed out on every freaking dual citizen in the pool pushes this kid into Italy’s waiting arms.

    There are way too many things I don’t understand.