Dallas defender John called into Greece national team
George John could soon be faced with a major, Andy Najar-type decision.
According to John's agent, Ted Philipakos, the FC Dallas center back has been invited to the Greek national team's camp ahead its friendly against Ecuador on June 7, 2011, at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y.
Greek national team coach Fernando Santos made the announcement in Athens on Friday ahead of Greece's Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta on June 4 in Piraeus, Greece.
The 24-year-old will participate in training with the national team but will not appear in the game against Ecuador, according to a statement issued by Philipakos.
"It is a tremendous honor to be invited to join the Greek national team," John said in a statement. "I am looking forward to meeting the team in New York. As a new player, I need to use that time to get to know the staff and the players."
John, who holds both US and Greek citizenship, was born and raised near Seattle and is a second generation Greek-American. Though uncapped at the international level, he was invited to the US national team camp in December ahead of the Yanks' friendly against Chile on Jan. 22. However, he was unable to attend because of an ankle injury.
According to FIFA rules, if John were to appear for Greece in any non-official match — a friendly, for example — he would be eligible to make a one-time switch to the US. However, if John were to appear for Greece in an official competition, such as Euro qualifying, he would be permanently cap-tied to Greece.
"I am fully aware of FIFA statutes regarding international eligibility, and that I will remain eligible to represent the United States for at least the short term," John said. "If I receive an invitation from the US national team, I will give it consideration at that time.
"It would not be appropriate for me to make any further comments about my international future. It is very important to me that I show respect to both EPO and US Soccer."
Should John earn the opportunity to chose between the US and Greece, he would face stiff competition either way.
In five Euro group matches, Greece have fielded AC Milan's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Olympiacos' Avraam Papadopoulos in central defense. The squad has also featured Panathinaikos' Loukas Vyntra and Bologna's Vangelis Moras.
For the US, John currently falls behind upstarts Tim Ream (Red Bulls) and Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy) in the depth chart, as well as Gold Cup call-ups Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente), Clarence Goodson (Brøndby IF) and Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne).
Greece currently lead their Euro 2012 qualification group with 10 points, one point ahead of Croatia.