If you were on Twitter today, you almost surely heard about Preston Zimmerman's diatribe regarding perceived unfairness in Jurgen Klinsmann's selections to the United States national team. Specifically, Zimmerman -- an American who's currently playing in the the German third division -- took issue with Klinsmann's proclivity of calling in German born players who are eligible for the USMNT, but who sometimes don't even speak English. (If you missed it, I've attached his entire 16-Tweet message below the jump.)
It all brings up the idea that Americans have struggled with ever since the country's founding: What's a "real American"? As Sounder at Heart's Dave Clark points out, it's actually easier to serve in the American military than it is to qualify to be an American soccer player, so it's probably not as simple as some would have you believe.
From a purely selfish point of view, I have no problem with what Klinsmann is doing conceptually. He's looking as far and wide as the rules allow him in an effort to find the best possible players. Whether or not those players would be considered "American" by the average person on the street is really not that big of a concern to me.
I want the United States to have the best team possible. Countries all over the world have been employing these same kind of practices forever, essentially, and this is not exactly something the United States has been above in the past.
It does seem that Klinsmann is taking this tactic to a new level and is mining new depths of Germany to find this talent. At the same time, there are some very good players who seem to be getting overlooked -- guys like Herculez Gomez and Sacha Kljestan to name two.
But the talent and quality of the players being overlooked is the thing that we should be focusing on, not their "Americanness."