Why Italy leaving Rossi off the plane is good for US Soccer

First off, I don’t hate the kid. I really, really feel bad for him. I don’t think he’s a bad guy and I don’t think his choice to play for Italy was out of any malice or that it served as any great indictment of American soccer.

All that being said, I think Rossi being left off the team is a net plus for US Soccer. Here’s why. Whenever a young multi-nationalitied American is choosing to play for the US or his family’s “homeland,” he and his agents will remember 2010, when Rossi didn’t go to the World Cup and that Jose Torres and Herculez Gomez did.

Putting aside the tragic case of bad agent work that allowed for Rossi to try to make an Italy team while not being in Serie A, (Something that has only happened three times on Italy’s World Cup squads since 1990.*) Rossi will serve as a serious dissuasion for future players in that position from choosing to for countries outside the US. That, while brutal, is a good thing for the US national team.

* 1998, Di Matteo of Chelsea and Vieri of Atletico; 2002 with Coco of Barcelona.


23 thoughts on “Why Italy leaving Rossi off the plane is good for US Soccer

  1. Good angle. I think you’re right.

    Besides the first flash of schadenfreude, I do feel bad for him. He had the guts to go for a dream. He’s not a lock to make the Italian team the next time around either. He’s going to be 4 years older and there will be another crop of good young Italy-based Italian forwards as his competition.

  2. This is key. All of Italy’s players in the last WC were based in Serie A. It makes sense; Serie A is one of the top three leagues and its teams generally performs extremely well in Champions League and whatever the other one is called now.
    BTW, Saudi Arabia was the only other squad with 100% domestically based roster in 2006.
    Very true. I do respect him for sticking to his goal. I agree that it might be a useful tool to dissuade future cases like his. It probably won’t stop them all, but there will be more Torres & Gomez quality players sticking around too. Two staying for every one leaving? I’ll take those odds.

  3. I think that tally is a little off.

    Gomez was never on Mexico’s radar. Also, don’t forget that Subotic made the World Cup as well.

    But hey, at least we got Castillo and Jones! Ugh.

  4. I think he chose Italy because he wanted a chance at becoming a World Cup champion, and he felt his chances were greater to do that with Italy, and it backfired on him. I don’t begrudge his choice. Having that moniker of World Cup Champion could have earned him more money one day.

    I do hope you’re right though in that Americans will think twice about playing for another country. Even though Rossi may not have been the greatest thing ever, we still can’t allow quality players to leave and play for other countries. Personally, I think you should play for the country where you were born, not where you’ve been working. I have a feeling we’re very close to having certain players receiving cash under the table to come play for international teams as free agents.

  5. It is pitiful to say that having a player chose to play for the US ONLY because he will get playing time is good for the US National team as a whole.

    A lot of US fans on this board have no pride about what the shirt represent. Pitiful.

  6. Doesn’t this go both ways? There are a number of guys who are eligible for the US and some lesser soccering country (the current flavor of the month on this topic is Najar). According to your theory why should these guys choose the US when their chances of making the national team are better elsewhere?

  7. How about when Rossi becomes an important striker for Italy at Euro 2012, WC2014, Euro 16, and WC2018? I’d say he’d then become a hero of Italian-Americans everywhere, will lead to more support for Italy in the states, and more American kids dreaming of playing for Italy.

    The kid is only 23. He’s been on the bubble for Lippi this entire cycle. It’s not a surprise that he didn’t make their world cup squad. But he’s one of the few established Italian strikers under the age of 25.

  8. Italy always has quality strikers, Macheda will most likely be on the radar for 2014, and 10 others. Rossi will fade into obscurity because he is not Italian enough in my opinion.

  9. For my part I do hate the guy, I am of Italian descent and though I may not wish he burn in hell for betraying HIS COUNTRY, I am not shedding a tear for this guy.

    Up yours kid, God bless America.

  10. He has said that he grew up with Italian soccer as his measuring stick. Watched Serie A from a young age, etc. I think it was a simple as that. He identified with the Italian National Team, and so that was his dream. I don’t think it had anything to do with which country had a better shot at winning the World Cup.

    The interview that Jeff Bradley did with Rossi was pretty enlightening in this regard.

  11. I’m not so sure he wouldn’t prosper more by just being a big star of the USMNT. Then, by being so well known he could have opened up a chain of Pizza parlors. Beppe’s Pizza Amore!

  12. If Italy crashes out in the first round (possible) or in the round of 16 (probable) he will definitely be “Italian enough” for 2014.

    Manager Lippi on the other hand, will be granted immediate U.S. citizenship and a recurring role on The Jersey Shore following the World Cup.

  13. Well hell, I’ve grown up watching the EPL basically (at least until 1996) and then continued watching the EPL along with MLS and you don’t see me identifying with my relatives across the pond! My dream such as it was, was to play for the USMNT.

    Personally, I’m glad he got left off. As Aaron points out, this will make others think twice about being turncoats for lack of a better term.

  14. Rossi paid a bad Villarreal season and possibly a his own partially in the shade; but seen who Mafia Lippi called to the WC (living dead like Zambrotta, Gattuso, not to mention the whole Juve defense which got a passive of 52 goals in serie A this season) I don’t think leaving out player like him was a very good idea. I am an Italian supporter but I think Italy will be out of this WC even before I seat on the couch to start watching the game. But – however it goes – Lippi will be gone at the end of it, and with a new (good) coach and better person like Prandelli, a player like Rossi will be back with the national team fast. And to all the people who point their fingers to him for playing in a different country other than the one he was born in, I simply tell: how about if your wife and you were living in a foreign country, had a child born there but really good at playing basketball (example), so good that at a certain point he would prefer playing for the US national team because it’s a much better team than the one of the country he was born in and gives him possibly more possibilities for a high level future, would you still think the same you think now about Giuseppe Rossi?

  15. I think the vast majority of USMNT supporters understand Rossi’s decision. And they also understand that they’re being hyprocrites by calling Rossi and traitor, and then welcoming Jermaine Jones with open arms.

    But they don’t care. They’re 100% USMNT fans, and thus feel joy in the suffering of Giuseppe Rossi.

  16. Torres and Gomez are more important harbingers than Rossi. I hope that Mexican American soccer prodigies (which must outnumber first generation Italian Americans) will be looking at them and the US team, instead of following only the Mexico team. If Rossi had a dream of playing for the US, it wouldn’t have come to this.

  17. BTW, Higuain was born in France by Argentinian parents, he plays for Argentina, should he be considered a traitor?

  18. “Stewart was born in Neghel, Netherlands, and played in the top Dutch league from 1988 until 2003. He also earned 101 career caps with the US National Team”


  19. Many Italians still think of American soccer as markedly inferior to their home grown product. Those purists don’t want their game watered down by American influences. Argentinians of Italian ancestry get a pass because they have a history of success in the sport.

    Rossi also forgot to consider that many Italians think of him as an American. They do not want to be represented by an American. He obviously did not realize it before. I hope he realizes it now.

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