MIAMI - United States head coach Jurgen
Klinsmann will trawl the globe for dual-citizen players to
represent the country and hopes to start by handing German-born
Fabian Johnson a debut in next month's friendly matches.
Klinsmann has already used German-born Timmy Chandler and
Jermaine Jones, both originally selected by his predecessor Bob
Bradley, and he called up Johnson for the recent friendlies
against Costa Rica and Belgium although he was not yet eligible
The former Bayern Munich and German national team coach
said on Friday he hoped FIFA would complete Johnson's switch of
allegiance in time for the October 8 friendly against Honduras in
Miami and that he expected other dual citizens to be brought
into the U.S. system in the future.
"The dual-citizenship issue is something that is out there
for every country in the soccer world," Klinsmann said in a
telephone interview with South Florida reporters.
"If you look at what has happened with Germany in the last
10 years, producing a lot of dual-citizenship kids who decided
then to play for Germany which gave them a lot of very good
Germany focused on immigrants or the sons of immigrants
from countries such as Turkey, Poland, Tunisia and that allowed
them to bring through players such as Sami Khedira, Miroslav
Klose and Lukas Podolksi into the national team.
While Klinsmann did not discuss specific future targets,
there are several potential recruits in the Bundesliga, such as
Hoffenheim's Daniel Williams and younger talents such as
Houston-born Fabian Huerzeler, who is part of Bayern Munich's
For the U.S., the target is not only the sons of American
servicemen in Germany but also players with joint Mexican and
U.S. eligibility, such as recent Klinsmann selections Jose
Torres and Edgar Castillo.
"It all started really with France in the 1990's - if you
look at what team France won the World Cup with in 1998, then
you understand how hot the topic of dual-citizenship is,"
"If they didn't have Zinedine Zidane, [Lilian] Thuram or [Youri] Djorkaeff, I doubt they would have won the World Cup.
It is a very important topic for all of us, it is a global race
Former U.S. Under-20 coach Thomas Rongen researched a list
of around 500 players, from youth level upwards, who are
scattered around the globe but could be eligible to play for
"Thomas did an amazing job with his list and we have
additional information from other people," Klinsmann said.
"I can be of a big help with my network in Europe and in
South America and we identify those kids. We have people
At the 1994 World Cup, the U.S. featured dual-citizens
Earnie Stewart and Thomas Dooley, who were born in the
Netherlands and Germany respectively, but Klinsmann believes
the key now is reaching players early enough to get them into
the U.S. youth system.
"I'm not trying to get them straight into the first team at
17, 18 or 19-years-old," he said. "I am a little more
conservative on developing those players.
"It is important we observe them in games," Klinsmann said,
adding that coaches at Olympic and age-group levels would be
expected to integrate them into the U.S. set-up.
The 23-year-old Johnson, who plays in the Bundesliga for
Hoffenheim and was born in Munich, has represented Germany at
youth and under-21 level and so needs to undergo a FIFA
clearance for change of allegiance.
"We hope that FIFA clears him in the next two or three
weeks and as soon as the paperwork is cleared and if he is fit
and healthy then we would love to call him in for the Miami
game," Klinsmann said.
After facing Honduras in Florida, the U.S. take on Ecuador
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