As a dual citizen, 22-year-old soccer player Aron J
óhannsson had to chose between playing for the United States or Iceland.He chose the United States.
Jóhannsson, who plays striker for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie, announced his decision on Facebook today.
He can still change his mind until he plays in a full international for the U.S., but if he sticks to his word it’ll be a nice coup for Jürgen Klinsmann and his national team.
Jóhannsson scored 14 goals in 18 games for the Danish club team AGF before AZ bought him in January. It looks like he’ll start for AZ this season after the departure of fellow U.S. international Jozy Altidore to Sunderland.
The Eredivisie is a cut below the best leagues in Europe, but Johannsson is still at a bigger club (at an earlier age) than his forward competitors on the U.S. team. This certainly won’t guarantee him a spot in the 2014 World Cup team, but it’s a promising sign down the road.
Jóhnnssson picking the U.S. is a bit of a surprise. He was born in Mobile, Alabama, but he moved to Iceland when he was three and his parents are Icelandic.
He also played 10 under-21 games for the Icelandic national team, and all indications a few months ago were that he was going to pick Iceland.
Since Klinsmann took over two years ago, a bunch of dual citizens have chosen to play for the U.S. Timothy Chandler, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, Terrence Boyd, and (it looks like) John Anthony Brooks are all German-Americans who’ve chosen to play for the US. Add to that guys like Joe Corona (Mexican-American), Mix Diskerud (Norwegian-American), and Omar Gonzalez (Mexican-American), and you have an entire squad worth of players who could have potentially been playing elsewhere.
As we saw when they destroyed everyone in the Gold Cup, the addition of this international cohort has given the team some much-needed depth.
We’ve still yet to see an elite-level player choose the U.S. over an international power, but injecting the American player pool with a bunch of new blood has raised the bar for what it takes to make a U.S. men’s national team.
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