Timmy Chandler’s apparent U.S. rejection isn’t the first notorious snub. Probably won’t be the last. Here are the most famous threesome of “No Thanks” to the U.S. national team advances:
1. Giuseppe Rossi: This one will always get closest to the boiling point for most U.S. fans. Because with other high-profile snubs, the player in question grew up beyond our borders, at least in part. So cases can be made that so-and-so truly is more German, Italian, Serbian or whatever. But not Rossi, who lived in the United States until just before his 13th birthday.
That’s when Rossi (now at Villareal, but injured) moved to Italy, joined Parma’s youth team and began climbing the rungs of stardom – steps that would eventually allow Rossi to fulfill his dream of representing Italy. Never mind that he did not, actually, grow up in Italy. He was born and raised in New Jersey, the son of school teachers here.
Then-U.S. manager Bruce Arena did invite Rossi into the U.S. training camp prior to World Cup 2006. Rossi declined. If that sounds like an unpatriotic slap, it’s fair to point out that Arena slapped back, according to this 2009 New York Times story:
If Rossi was not interested in playing for the United States, the United States was not interested in him, Arena told reporters at the time, saying, “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.” “
So, take that.
2. Neven Subotic: How good would the Borussia Dortmund center back look in a U.S. shirt today? Alas, we’ll never know.
Subotic’s story has many twists and tentacles, and it seems tough to begrudge his choices.
His family fled war-weary Bosnia when he was 18 months old. They settled in Germany but had to leave when he was 11. The family then settled in the United States, where Subotic was spotted and eventually absorbed into the U.S. under-17 national team. He later appeared twice for the U.S. under-20s.
Subotic was eligible to play for the full national team of the United States, Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. How he came to choose Serbia … well, a lot of ingredients go into that particular stew. Some of them on the bitter side, like Thomas Rongen’s biting criticism of the young player, and choices made during the 2007 under-20 World Cup.
Players chosen ahead of Subotic for Rongen’s U.S. side in 2007 included Nathan Sturgis, Anthony Wallace, Julian Valentin, Ofori Sarkodie, Tim Ward and Amaechi Igwe. The range of success tilts toward the lower end (so far, anyway). Suffice to say: None of those names represent the center piece on a brawny defense that just won the German Bundesliga title.
3. Timmy Chandler: The final chapter may have yet been written in the Chandler affair. But it seems that lessons have been learned about how to handle these delicate situations. More to the point, it seems unlikely that U.S. Soccer could have done much more to get Chandler (pictured) on board. This one, by all appearances, is squarely on the player.
But that’s probably OK. Again, the kid grew up in Germany – so it’s hard to crank up too much aggravation over the whole thing.