January 1, 2012

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Former U.S. youth international Preston Zimmerman blasts Klinsmann's German-American policy

28 Dec, 2011

By Charles Boehm

Former U.S. youth international Preston Zimmerman used his Twitter feed to fire off a stunning broadside against U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann's policy of seeking out German-born players with American heritage for the national team on Wednesday, prompting an extensive online debate about the team's identity.

Ironically, Zimmerman presently plays his club soccer for German third-division side SV Darmstadt 98. But the Washington State native has strong objections to the practice of finding foreign-based professionals in that country who happen to qualify for U.S. National Team participation due to an American parent or grandparent, many of which are/were members of the U.S. armed forces stationed in Europe during the Cold War.

"Requirements to get on US National team under Klinsmann: Be a fake American, be born outside the US, have one US distant relative," tweeted Zimmerman. "I see the team is calling in guys who are really germans [sic] who know they've got no chance of playing for germany so they'll settle with the US.

"Thats embarrassing when a good friend of mine says he met one of the guys @ the airport & he couldnt reply back in English as US Natl player...I never expect to be called in or involved with anything and it doesn't hurt my feelings...I would just like to see true, real Americans who would live and die for this country representing our country."

Bloggers and pundits quickly took up the topic, pondering what it means to be a "real American" in the context of international soccer, and whether fans should care.

"We are in an age of empire after ages of massive immigration," noted Dave Clark of the Seattle-based Sounder at Heart blog. "He also clearly considers American collegiate players inadequate...

"Should Klinsmann respect the college game more in his influence over U-23 and U-20 selection? Certainly. Should an American player be able to converse in English? I'd prefer yes, but can not demand it. Are Reserves players in Germany better than players in America? Maybe not at the number called up by the coach at this point. His biases are quite public."

[ +Click here for a more complete listing of Zimmerman's tweets at Soccer By Ives ]

[ +Read Clark's full post here ]

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