Report: Potts not eligible for USA

Potts (Getty Images)

Danny Potts might not have an international choice to make after all. 

According to Yanks Abroad, Potts, a West Ham left back whose father was born in the United States, is not eligible to represent the United States. Potts, 18, played for the U.S. Under-20 national team last May when it was thought that he had dual eligibility, but both U.S. U-20 coach Tab Ramos and U.S. Soccer have reportedly learned that may not be the case.

The uncertainty is centered on how long his father, former West Ham standout and England youth international Steve Potts, lived in the United States, and that it might not have been a long enough period to make his son a citizen. Danny Potts was born in England.

"Based on the information we have now, we do not believe he is eligible for citizenship through family relation," U.S. Soccer communications officer Michael Kammarman told YA.

Added Ramos: "Regarding Danny Potts, it is my understanding that the paperwork is not as easy as we thought it was going to be from the beginning. So there is a very good chance that he absolutely cannot be part of this process in this (U-20) cycle."

Potts has played for West Ham's first team on a few occasions this season, is captain of the club's Under-18 team and earned his first call-up from the England Under-18 national team last month for a match against Poland.


What do you think of this development?

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31 Responses to Report: Potts not eligible for USA

  1. Illmatic74 says:

    Tough for US and him. It is always a lot of completion for spots on the English team(a player like Carrick has trouble getting called up). It would have been helpful if he had another option and we always have a problem finding a left back.

  2. THomas says:

    I think we’ll be okay at left back by the time Potts would have been ready anyways. Plus, he always seemed more of a fit for England than the US.

    I mean, his last name is Potts.

  3. marco says:

    never heard of this before, always believed if born in the usa, automatic, with no ifs or buts

  4. Frank says:

    He was born in England

  5. The list is huge for American Fullbacks, and it will get larger! That’s a position where a super-athlete excels, and we have ton of those guys coming in the near future. (Optimist)

    Our other eligible fullbacks play in the top flight of Germany, England, and Mexico.

  6. JT says:


    If you are born in the United States, this is true, but since he was born in England, it does not apply.

    It’s complicated for children born abroad to a US citizen, such as the case here. Essentially, since his mother is not a US citizen, it is determined based on his father’s residency in the United States. For Danny to be a US Citizen:

    Steve Potts would have had to be physically present in the United States for 5 years, with two full years after the age of 14. Since Steve started playing with West Ham as a 16 year old in their youth program, I’m guessing this is why Danny’s citizenship, and thus eligibility, would be questioned.

  7. marco says:

    ok, thanks, they’re debating the son’s dual citizenship, the father is the automatic

  8. Poo says:

    I dont understand – dont they check eligibility before playing for youth teams? He played for the U20s

  9. Brian says:

    Yeah I’m curious how they got around that for the U20 game. I know it was just a friendly, but I was under the impression you needed to have a US passport to play in any game for the US national team system.

  10. weaksauce says:

    Dont believe everything you read !!!!

  11. Dimidri says:

    Has anybody been following the Jonathan De Guzman situation with Canada? Basically, he was born in Canada, left at 13?, developed in the Netherlands, gained Dutch citizenship, played for them at the olympics, moved to Spain, didn’t get called in by Holland, and now wants to play for Canada but can’t, at least yet for citizenship reasons(would have to get rid of Dutch one to become Canadian again, bad move for his Euro career obviously). Here’s what I don’t get-do you have to be a citizen to play for a country? Is Timmy Chandler a US citizen? Don’t FIFA rules just stipulate you have to have one parent or have been born in the country?

  12. Joe+G says:

    FIFA rules are a little more forgiving than that. You need to have been born in the country, have at least one grandparent who is a citizen OR live 2 years in the country.

    And, yes, Tim Chandler is a US citizen — his father is a US citizen AND met the residency requirements that allow him to pass on his citizenship.

  13. Joe+G says:

    Including this article?

  14. Lost in Space says:

    Yes you have to be a citien of the country you play your international soccer for. Chandler, Jones, Williams, & Johnson are all US citizens through their fathers.

  15. TheFrenchOne says:

    JT – It’s not complicated for children born abroad to US citizens. I was born in France of American parents and lived there until i was 18. the only citizenship i’ve ever had, and the only passport i’ve ever carried, has been American. and you don’t even need both parents to be American. check jermaine jones & Co. as Exhibit A.

  16. JT says:

    The law is different for children born abroad when both parents are US citizens, as in your case.

    Jermaine Jones’ father is a US Citizen, who more than met the residency requirements that entitled Jermaine to be a US Citizen himself.

    While FIFA rules are different, speaking from a pure citizenship standpoint, Danny Potts is not entitled to US Citizenship UNLESS his father physically resided in the US for 5 years, two of which after the age of 14.

  17. Joe+G says:

    The residency requirement is easy if your parents lived their lives primarily in the US (like the fathers of the German-American players). It’s more complex in this case because Steve was a US citizen, but didn’t live here long.

  18. Shane says:

    I could care less. He’s English, I’d rather have an American who came up through our system

  19. 99 says:

    “It’s like this Danny… left-hand counterclockwise on your belly, right-hand clockwise on your head.”

  20. Scoles says:

    Poor JK will have to find 5 more Germans

  21. Northzax says:

    That’s not a Fifa rule. The Fifa rule is simple: you need to be a citizen and not have played for another country at the senior level in a match that counted. Once you’re 22 (I think) you can switch from one country to another, if you were eligible for citizenship at that age. FIFA doesn’t care how you become a citizen, just that you are, under that country’s rules.

  22. Joe+G says:

    Actually, the “one time switch” rule eliminated the age requirement.

    FIFA does require that the citizen rules meet their standards (sorry Qatar) — born in a country, lived at least 2 years in a country OR parents or grandparents born in that country.

  23. Smits says:

    Can we just agree that if someone is a potential American that they are not American enough to play for the US National Team? This debate is stupid. The only reason he’s considering playing for another country is because it’s too hard to play for England. FIFA needs to make some adjustments to there citizenship status requirements.

  24. HansomeJake says:

    No you don’t have to be a citizen of a country to play for that country according to FIFA. FIFA considers your nationality not your citizenship. And the Germans suiting up for that Nats…all still Germans. Germans can’t be dual citizens, you see there was this series of great wars that didn’t work out for them. If a German was to receive citizenship in another country then they forfeit their German citizenship.
    Citizenships change but Nationality doesn’t. Granted it’s a bit more complicated than that but no, you don’t have to be an actual citizen; but you do need to prove your nationality.

  25. Joe+G says:

    The requirements I gave are for acquiring a NEW citizenship.

    I don’t see anything about age 22 (though the old rules allowed any player to make a switch up until age 21). Do you have a reference for that?

  26. divers suck says:

    Since when did length of residency come into play on whether you are deemed American if you were born in America? Steve Potts was born in America, he IS an American(dual) citizen even if he was only here for 5 minutes after he was born, until(if) he renounces his US citizenship as an ex-pat. This alone should allow Danny to easily get a US passport and claim dual citizenship, right?

  27. Joe+G says:

    According to what I’ve seen, Germans can indeed be dual citizens, especially if acquired at birth. Those who gain an additional citizenship by naturalization must get permission from the German government to retain their German citizenship.

  28. Joe+G says:

    I don’t think you are going to get agreement on that. A player with a Green Card waiting for the time requirement to take the oath of citizenship is a “potential American”. If senior Potts had met the residency requirements, Danny would be a US citizen, even if he never went to the trouble to apply for a passport.

    Citizenship is a lot like pregnancy — either you are or you aren’t. Many USMNT followers want to best team of eligible players who want to play for us.

  29. Joe+G says:

    Nope. For decades, US law says you have to reside in the US for some period of time to pass along your US citizenship. Steve is a US citizen, but he can’t pass along that citizenship to his son unless Steve met the residency requirement.

    The US has always had a different approach to citizenship than the rest of the world. Soil matters more than blood.

  30. HansomeJake says:

    Yes if acquired at birth if not born in Germany…of course special permission is required. It’s called Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, but the fact that you have to petition for it and it’s actually meant for Germans living in other parts of the EU. JK’s Germans live in Germany none of them are eligible for dual citizenship under German Law.

  31. Joe+G says:

    Here’s what the US Embassy says about it:

    A child born to an American parent and a German parent acquires both American and German citizenship at birth, regardless of place of birth, if the parents satisfy the jus soli or jus sanguinis requirements of their respective countries. See the sections above entitled, “Basic Primer on American Citizenship Law,” and “Basic Primer on German Citizenship Law.” Neither country requires a person born under these circumstances to choose between American and German citizenship, i.e., he/she may keep both citizenships his/her entire life.