After a strong performance at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill is on more than one national team radar. The 20-year-old Irish-American has been doing interviews with Irish media, saying he would welcome a chance to play for either team.
“I think it’s just whoever kind of gives me the opportunity,” O’Neill told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “I’d want to play for both; I think I said last week I’d be excited to play for Ireland, but I’d also be really happy to play for the U.S.”
O’Neill, who scored the U.S.’s only goal in the 4-1 loss to Ghana in the Americans’ last match of the U20 World Cup, grew up in Boulder, Colo., but he was born in Midleton, Republic of Ireland. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 1 year old.
Irish U21 coach Noel King has been in touch with him, according to the MLSSoccer.com story, although O’Neill said he “definitely” considers himself to be an American.
“I definitely grew up here completely, so definitely American,” he said. “But at the same time, your Irish heritage, everything at home is pretty Irish: drinking tea all the time with my mom and all that kind of stuff. I went back to Ireland every summer for the entire time, and all my family is back there.”
O’Neill signed with the Rapids as a Homegrown Player in June 2012, and he has started 20 games this year for Oscar Pareja’s side after making just a four-minute appearance in his rookie season.