Soccer -Imports help U.S. compete with more established soccer nations

viernes 20 de junio de 2014 17:12 GYT

By Michael Kahn

NATAL, Brazil, June 20 (Reuters) - The United States have long imported talent to help compete with more established soccer nations, a policy that paid off spectacularly at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil when Haitian-born Joe Gatjens' strike secured a shock 1-0 victory over England.

Gatjens, the son of a Haitian mother and German father, helped to cause one of the tournament's biggest-ever upsets and the U.S. recruitment drive took on renewed vigour after the Americans were thumped in their first World Cup appearance in 40 years in 1990.

That team, drawn mainly from players that came out of the U.S. collegiate ranks, lost all three group games in Italy and showed the Americans they had a long way to go to truly compete on the international level.

Four years later at the 1994 tournament on home turf, coach Bora Milutinovic rounded up a handful of dual nationals who played key roles in propelling the Americans out of the group stage and showed a melting pot approach could work.

The U.S. team look set to continue that trend against Portugal on Sunday with seven dual citizens who chose to represent the United States over countries where they had been raised in the squad for the Group G clash.

The core of the group are sons of American soldiers who fathered them when they were stationed in Germany, a country where the United States still operates military bases.

The German-Americans, who learned their football in the same system that produced U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann, include John Brooks, whose late goal powered the United States to a 2-1 victory in their opening World Cup match against Ghana.

Like Brooks, starters Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson as well as substitutes Timmy Chandler and 19-year old Bayern Munich prospect Julian Green all chose the nation of their serviceman fathers rather than the country where they were raised.   Continuación...