KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Forward Soony Saad is back with Sporting Kansas City after problems with his FIFA paperwork made him ineligible for Lebanon's World Cup qualifiers against South Korea and Iran.
Saad, who was born in Dearborn, Mich., and played as a US youth international, scored on his debut for Lebanon on May 29 in a 1-1 friendly draw with Oman. That earned him an invitation to stay on for the qualifiers, but the paperwork glitch derailed those plans.
“The story is that the switch didn't come from the US, because I played for the U-20 US national team,” Saad told MLSsoccer.com on Friday, a day after his return. “I guess I'm still registered under the US federation, and the switch takes a month to process through FIFA, and it wasn't filed. I guess it was something that got overlooked.”
Because the match against Oman was a friendly, Saad – whose father emigrated from Lebanon in the 1980s to escape that country's civil war – was eligible to play.
“It's a little frustrating,” he said. “But I got what I came for, which was originally the friendly. I was able to start and play 90 minutes and get a goal, and that's a positive. I felt really confident, and all the guys on the team really supported me.”
Saad's next opportunity for a call-up would likely come this fall, in Asian Cup qualifying play.
While Sporting manager Peter Vermes was disappointed for Saad, he's also glad to have him available for Wednesday's US Open Cup match against Orlando City – especially given Saad's record of success against the Lions, with two goals last year in Sporting's 3-2 third-round victory.
“I feel bad for him – but he's got a game to come back to here,” Vermes said. “He comes back, and he's got a chance to play here and be a part of a meaningful game. It would have been worse if he didn't have a game now.”
Saad is also looking forward to the Cup match, after the Oman friendly caused him to miss Sporting's 2-0 win over the Des Moines Menace on May 28 to open their defense of the 2012 title.
“I don't know how it's going to go yet,” he said. “I know they've had a lot going on over here. I don't know how I'm going to come in but I definitely hope to be part of a win on Wednesday.”