Juan Agudelo is just one of the recent players who chose to represent the United States instead of another country for which he was eligible. (Photo by Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

Recent USMNT Call-Ups Have Some Asking: What's An American?

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Recent USMNT Call-Ups Have Some Asking: What's An American?

Once upon a time, the United States National Team was filled entirely by players no one disputed were American. They were largely college students, who had been trained and played exclusively in the United States. Of course, those teams weren't particularly good. Now that the USMNT can actually hold their own, we're also seeing an expansion of the talent pool.

Some recent examples of dual-citizen players choosing the United States are Teal Bunbury, Mikkel Diskerud, Juan Agudelo and Jermaine Jones. Two more players, David Yelldell and Timothy Chandler, will join that group when the United States plays Argentina on Saturday. The American bona fides of those players range, to be sure, but all of them have at least one American parent and are American citizens. Should we really be looking for anything else?

The Daily Soccer Fix, Steve Davis' SB Nation soccer blog, takes a look at this issue and comes off somewhere in the middle. On one hand, he sees the logic in just doing what other countries have been doing, virtually, forever. On the other, he's concerned "real" Americans are having opportunities taken away from them.

And what if you’re name is Eric Lichaj, and you’re an American soccer player who grew up in Chicago, as American as Mickey Mantle. But now you must fight for your place on the team against a fellow who grew up in Frankfurt and wouldn’t know Mickey freakin’ Mantle from Mickey freakin’ Mouse?

To be sure, this is a touchy subject, both here and elsewhere. It wasn't so long ago that France was criticized for having a team that "didn't look French." But as long as teams are following the rules, there really doesn't seem to be any particularly compelling reason not to search far and wide for players that can help improve the U.S. player pool.

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