Yesterday 22-year-old Icelandic-American striker Aron Jóhannsson chose to play for the U.S. national soccer team over the Iceland national team.
Today, the Icelandic Football Association issued a fiery statement saying there was “no logic” behind the decision.
They accused Jóhannsson of only playing for the U.S. for potential sponsorship money, adding, “It is simply so that an Iceland National team member must play for land and country and for that they get honour and glory.”
Jóhannsson was born in Alabama but moved to Iceland when he was three. His family is Icelandic, and he even played a multiple games for the Iceland under-21 team in the last few years.
But under FIFA rules, players with dual citizenship don’t have to chose a side until they play in an official game for the senior national team.
Jóhannsson has yet to do that, and Iceland is none too pleased.
Here’s the full statement, which has been translated (via Soccer By Ives):
“Aron Jóhannsson is an Icelander born in the USA in 1990 where he lived in the first years of his life. Aron’s parents are Icelandic. Aron got his soccer education under the KSÍ umbrella, with Fjölnir, where he played all the junior years (with a short stay with Breiðablik) and then played for their full team, before joining AGF in Denmark on September 1st 2010.
“Aron Jóhannsson played 10 international matches for Iceland U21 in 2011 and 2012. Of these 10 games 8 of them were in UEFA competitions and Aron was a starter in each of them.
“FIFA allows players to changes national sides once if they fulfil certain criteria, even if they have played with junior national sides, as long as they have not played an official A team match. One of the conditions allows players to switch to a country they were born in if they wish to represent it.
“Aron has for the past year been unable to answer a call-up to the Iceland National Team from the national coach due to injuries. During that same time, news filtered through that the US Men National Team coach was interested in the player. Aron has no link to soccer in the USA at all.
“Yesterday a statement from Aron was published where he expressed his desire to play for the USMNT. The only thing that has been pointed out to KSÍ from an interested party, is that his income potential, as a USA player, is much greater, both in the form of grants and sponsorship, than if he were an Iceland player. It is simply so that an Iceland National team member must play for land and country and for that they get honour and glory.
“It is the utmost wish of KSÍ that Aron turns back on his ideas to change national teams. Aron is an Icelander through and through who we need in the tough international competitions. Aron has already played 10 U21 matches for Iceland and his future belongs there. Hopefully the public and media will respond and challenge Aron to continue competing for Iceland. KSÍ has already requested for Aron to participate in the next national team match vs. the Faroe Islands on August 14th.
“There is no logic behind Aron relinquishing his Icelandic soccer identity.”
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