Photo by ISIphotos.com
At this time of year, you can usually expect your share of Christmas and other holiday cards in your mailbox. U.S. Soccer received a correspondence that was neither cheery or good news. On Dec. 22, the USSF received a letter from Neven Subotic informing U.S. Soccer that he will be playing for the Serbian national team, U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe confirmed to SBI on Wednesday.
Thus ends U.S. Soccer's hopes to land Subotic, who went from Bosnian immigrant and unknown soccer player to U.S. youth national team player to European star, and now to Serbian national team player. a fringe U.S. youth player just three years ago, Subotic has rapidly risen to become one of the best young defenders in European soccer, starring for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga at the age of 20.
"We wish Neven all the best and success in the future," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said.
Subotic played in four matches with the U.S. Under-17 national team at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, earning a red card in a round of 16 loss to the Netherlands. He made a total of 12 appearances with the U.S. Under-17 national team, starting five matches. He scored one goal, in his first appearance, against Australia in the 2004 Nike Friendlies.
Subotic played two matches with the U.S. Under-20 national team, but was left off the roster for the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. He never represented the U.S. national team again.
Subotic's decision will be a tough one to take for U.S. national team fans, particularly after comments made by Subotic in this interview with U.S. Soccer in 2006.
The above photo is the best one I could find of Subotic in a U.S. national team uniform. Feel free to print it out and tape it to your dartboard.
In all seriousness, Subotic, a native of Bosnia, will now play for the nation of his father's birth, which just happens to boast one of the most talented young teams in Europe, a national team currently leading a World Cup qualifying group that includes France.
It won't be easy news to take, but American fans should also remember that the U.S. national team has benefited from foreign-born players who chose the United States over their native countries, such as Roy Wegerle, Earnie Stewart, Thomas Dooley, Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden. It probably doesn't help that three players who theoretically could have wound up playing for the United States (Subotic, Giuseppe Rossi and Vedad Ibisevic) happen to be three of the hottest young prospects in Europe.
What do you think about this unfortunate news? Think Subotic is making a mistake? Are you not surprised that he chose Serbia? Are you just glad it's finally over so we can move on? Share your thoughts below.