A closer look at the German-Americans on the USMNT


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68 Responses to A closer look at the German-Americans on the USMNT

  1. PetedeLA says:

    OK. Gotta admit. I kinda teared up. Thanks for sharing this, SBI.

  2. beto says:

    pretty cool piece. from CNN of all outlets!.

    At first a lot of people, myself included, though we were poaching dual-nationals or accepting them as their second choice. After Fabian, Boyd and Danny submitted their one time switches at the beginning of their careers it was great to see they are just really proud to represent their country in a similar but very different way as their fathers. The Jones story about reconnecting with his dad is great too.

  3. Tim M. says:

    Such a facinating situation our german american brothers have. I so glad cnn did a piece like this because their story is well worth covering. I really hope theirs more coverage of this in the future.

  4. Cairo says:

    Let’s hope The American dude playing in the German 4th division that criticized these guys gets a chance to watch this piece. Hopefully we can stop questioning their authenticity and accept their story as a quintessentially American one

    • Tim M. says:

      Zimmerman right? Some ppl are just misguided

      • PD says:

        something tells me if we has getting regular callups he wouldn’t be nearly so xenophobic.

        • Brent says:

          Zimmermann plays in the German 3rd Div for Darmstadt but yeah, he probably will not make any appearances on the NTeam anyway. Not good enough.

    • Mark says:

      But here’s the million dollar question…..If they had a choice to play for Germany or the United States, would any of these guys play for the United States?

      I think probably not.

      I think that most of them, having grown up in Germany, and admittedly, perhaps more so for the soccer tradition of that country, would play for Germany.

      • GW says:

        You think that but you don’t know do you?

        If you were mixed race you might feel different.

        Jermaine Jones played a couple of friendlies with Germany and when he switched he indicated that he felt very unwelcome with that bunch.

        And we’ll never really know but, to an outsider, the USMNT seem like a very welcoming bunch. So if you are going to a World Cup wouldn’t you rather do it with your buddies rather than a bunch of guys who look down on you?

        How is it that a guy like Drogba, who very probably could have played and stood out for France ( I’m not positive but I’m sure someone else could look that up for me) chose to play for the Ivory Coast? And he’s not alone. I haven’t done the research but I’ll bet there are a fair number of Africans like Drogba ( i.e. players who would be stars) who could play for established powers like France, Germany ( Boateng ) and so on. Yet they choose to play for their African countries.

        It could be a racial thing, it could be they aren’t good enough or it could just be they feel better with one team over the other.

        These strike me as intensely personal, complicated decisions and I think you are mistaken to judge so many of “them” so quickly and think you know better than they do.

        In the end it is really nobody else’s business.

        • jai_brooklyn says:

          Well said.

        • Karol says:

          “Germany ( Boateng ) and so on. Yet they choose to play for their African countries.”

          KP Boateng decided to play for Ghana because Germany didn`t call him up. After he played for them at the WC, he decided to quit international football. It`s no secret that KP Boateng considers himself more German than African.His brother Jerome who decided to play for Germany has- unlike his half-brother – strong connections to Ghana.

          • GW says:

            He’s retired from Ghana? Too late for the US, I guess. So the wrong brother played for Ghana huh?

            Ironic isn’t it?

        • Karol says:

          “Jermaine Jones played a couple of friendlies with Germany and when he switched he indicated that he felt very unwelcome with that bunch.”

          Jermaine Jones waited for a call-up to Germany`s tour in Asia. Loew chose many reserve players but he didn`t call up Jones – who saw that as an indication that he doesn`t have a chance within the German NT(at least under Loew)and after that snub he decided to switch federations.

          But I agree with you, that this is generally speaking a very personal decision and shouldn`t be judged by outsiders.

          • GW says:

            Jones has gone to great lengths to discuss how ostracized he felt in the German camp. And he certainly is always quite outwardly enthusiastic about playing for the US. He certainly seemed to take his captain’s assingment very, very seriously.

            This could all be a cover for his inability to make the German squad. He could actually being a lying hypocritical, conniving opportunist but, from this distance, it at least has the appearance of being genuine.

  5. Dave says:

    Does anyone else think that a full ESPN Outside the Lines episode dedicated to this or a shorter 30/30 one would be extremely interesting for the average sports fan?

    • Nick says:

      Has to be in the works.

    • andrewfroboy says:

      definitely, would be cool

    • beachbum says:

      great idea

    • broadsthooligans says:

      Totally for it.

      Also this quote from Danny Williams was, though already so-inclined, the point where I no longer had any doubt that these guys were totally invested in the USA.

      “Not many because they don’t show that many games in Germany, but I always watch in the World Cup. I will never forget the game against Germany in the 2002 World Cup in the quarterfinal. This was the time that I started loving the USA. I watched the game, and normally I would support Germany. After the U.S. lost that match, I started crying. My dad asked what was going on. I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted the U.S. to win.”

  6. Felix says:

    I hope the people here in the US who are critical of JK’s decision to include these guys watch this piece (who like to conveniently forget that this started all the way back with Bora with guys like Dooley and Earnie Stewart). That’s what makes being “American” so beautiful, it isn’t how Williams or Jones describes the typical German (ie white), but being American is so much more broader and accepting. Speaking as first generation Latino myself who is a diehard USMNT fan – I love when I see things like this.

    • Felix says:

      That being said, I hope we get away from starting Jermaine Jones LOL! But based on his play, not his background.

    • andrewfroboy says:

      I think my beef with German-American guys is more for the likes of Chandler, I don’t really just want an opportunist on the team, but someone who truly wants to play for the US. Nothing but respect for the guys that do, but I don’t feel a need to poach guys who feel no US identity just because we can. I think it is much different for a first generation immigrant than some of these guys as immigrants have chosen to live in the US, a lot of these dual-citizen guys have never lived in the US. That being said, proud to have anyone that wants to put on the shirt and is proud of their heritage.

      • beachbum says:

        very thoughtful and well put comment imo, thanks

      • Dimidri says:

        To me there are two ‘implicit criterion’ I want any player to meet to play for the US-

        1) Has some legitimate tie to the US (e.g. he doesn’t just watch Burn Notice and think the US is the coolest country in the world)

        2) Feels a palatable connection to the US, it is a part of who he is, etc. above some arbitrary line.

        Most of the German-Americans COULD meet both of those conditions, some do, some don’t. If they don’t then I don’t want them (e.g. Chandler) no matter how good they are not for nationalistic reasons but because its in effect cheating. When we win I don’t want others to be able to put asterisks on it. These guys seem to meet both.

    • GW says:

      Actually, it goes back even further. Just look at the US team the beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup.

      Or just look at the German American soccer league of New York ( founded in 1923) that formed the basis of the Cosmos ( one of my favorite Cosmos, Werner Roth, came from the GASL) and provided many players to the earlier USMNTs.

  7. JB says:

    It’s good to see that CNN picked up on this story. However, they’re about two years behind on it.

  8. pancholama says:

    Great piece! Thanks for sharing it.

  9. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    I take it JJ no longer needs a translator. Nice.

  10. Mc says:

    10 more German Americans playing for our junior national teams? Is there that many? I would like to see that list.

    • Joe+G says:

      Here are some of them:

      Alfredo Morales
      Julian Green
      John Anthony Brooks
      Jerome Kiesewetter
      Tyrone McCargo
      Andrew Wooten
      Fabian Huerzeler
      Jann George
      Royal-Dominique Fennell

      Not all of them are sons of GIs, but an interesting background. Add in Shawn Parker, who is currently playing the German system, and Gedion Zelalem who is a German citizen who just moved from DC (waiting US citizenship — timing may be the issue) and there’s a lot of talent there. It’s tough to get the the German NT and we might be able to get these gentlemen as they calculate the odds of seeing meaningful caps.

  11. IdahoBrian says:

    Great piece on these guys. If anyone questions whether these are true americans…they should watch the video. I’m very glad they have the opportunity to represent the USA for themselves and their families…

  12. Karol says:

    Nice to hear.But I doubt that they would have chosen the US over Germany if they had any chance to make the German team.

    • Mc says:

      I had that thought as well, but, you know, these guys are competitive athletes, playing soccer is their whole life, so wanting to play at the highest level, wanting to win a world cup, wanting to win a euro cup, I don’t blame them for trying to make decisions that would bring them closer to those dreams. It’s not so black and white like some people posting on this forum make it out to be.

      I might be one of the few, but I don’t blame players like Chandler for holding out on the US to try and play for Germany. You can feel passionate two countries, You can be patriotic to both the United States and Germany. All of that turncoat stuff is nonsense. I’m not saying it’s not awesome when someone is totally gung-ho for the US, I just don’t blame those who aren’t.

    • Gnarls says:

      Let’s all thank the military industrial complex for helping to improve US Soccer.

      • BBB says:

        And inventing the Internet, so we can chat about it.

      • Sarasota says:

        “The military industrial complex”? You must be a time traveler from 1968! The only hippies left live in California. Then again, we do have something called “Occupy Whatever”. They’re also strange dudes.

        Good quip though, really!!!

        • another steveo says:

          Actually, the phrase, “military industrial complex,” is from Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, from the mid-1950s. I didn’t realize he was such a hippie (as so far ahead of his time!).

    • Francois says:

      Fabian Johnson is considered the second best left back in Germany behind Phillip Lahm. I’m pretty sure he would be in the squad.

      • David JS says:

        he started for the German squad in the Final of the U21 Euros. Other players on the team included Ozil, Neuer, Khedira, Hummels, Boateng, you see my point.

  13. Jamie Z. says:

    Props to CNN for finally getting around to this. I think it’s interesting sociologically, and awesome as a German-American and fan of U.S. Soccer.

  14. chris says:

    Arent they American-Germans not German-Americans?

  15. 2tone says:

    Great piece.

    Here are the ten in the juior ranks.

    1. Brooks
    2. Fennel
    3. Wooten
    4. Green
    5. Hurzeler
    6. Keisewetter
    7. Morales
    8. Jann George
    9. Tyrone McCargo
    10. Can’t think of the tenth player.

    • Joe+G says:

      I find it hilarious we both came up with identical 9 players … and within minutes of each other.

  16. beachbum says:

    great stuff, thanks for posting Ives

  17. TGA says:

    ESPN should broaden the coverage and report on all the dual nationals….
    Hugo Perez
    Thomas Dooley
    Earnie Stewart
    Tab Ramos
    Roy Wegerle
    Preki
    Frank Klopas
    the list goes on….and back beyond 1990

    • Michael Stypulkoski says:

      They should definitely Adu it!

      I’ll see myself out…

    • GW says:

      If the current FIFA rules had been in place say about 1990, the face of international soccer might have been very different indeed.

    • dudeinho says:

      Yet there is a double standard for the Mexican american kids when they choose to play for Mexican Teams.

    • Brian says:

      Pablo Mastroeni. Benny Feilhaber

      • 22 says:

        Landon Donovan

        • Michael Stypulkoski says:

          I think the point is all of the others were born outside of the US. Donovan likely could have played for Canada through his father, but he was born in California. I imagine many if not most US-born players could have represented another country if they chose to go that route: Jozy (Haiti), Edu and Gooch (Nigeria), Lichaj (Poland), Torres, Gomez, Fiscal, Castillo, etc. (Mexico) just off the top of my head.

  18. Mc says:

    Way off topic, Dempsey just put a penalty kick right at the keeper that would have tied the game with Norwich in the last 3 minutes. Not good.

    • GW says:

      Dempsey has never loved taking penalties. Or, at least, he seems to have had mixed results with them over the years.

  19. Call Up Lichaj says:

    JJ’s English has improved tremendously in the last couple years. I’m truly impressed.

    During his loan stint in the EPL, he had trouble putting together sentences.

  20. joel says:

    great piece….thanks for sharing Ives.

  21. 22 says:

    Their English is amazing. I love these guys. GO USA