Would Darlington Nagbe make a USMNT return? Columbus Crew midfielder opens up

Darlington Nagbe - USMNT - qualifying match

The latest episode of BSI: The Podcast features Columbus Crew SC midfielder Darlington Nagbe, and they visited the hot-button topic of why Nagbe isn't part of the US men’s national team.

The three hosts – recently-retired midfielder Benny Feilhaber, Minnesota United center back Ike Opara and San Diego Loyal defender Sal Zizzo – got some candid honesty from Nagbe. The recurring theme was not missing out on family time.

“I get to do this for a living, I like what I do for a living, I get to be home a lot,” Nagbe, 29, said. “I think the national team kind of took away from me being home a lot of those breaks that we would get. 

“You’d see guys get some time off and things like that, then we’re traveling to St. Vincent’s to go play on a cricket field and stuff like that. For me, it’s just a grind. I feel like where you travel to play makes a big difference – drinking out of water bottles, brushing your teeth with that. People don’t really see that.”

Nagbe has made 25 appearances with the USMNT, though hasn’t been capped since a March 28, 2018 friendly against Paraguay. He’s yet to appear under current head coach Gregg Berhalter, with most of his USMNT appearances coming in 2017 when Bruce Arena, now the New England Revolution head coach and sporting director, was at the helm.

Pressed about possibly appearing in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, Nagbe responded with a quick “no.” Even when playing in a World Cup was floated, Nagbe returned to family time.

“The only time I think about it is when people ask me about it,” Nagbe said. “You know those games, man. It’s fun when you put on the jersey and the whole country is cheering for you. It’s definitely different, it’s definitely special, but at the same time I try to look at it like if I went to the World Cup, how would it affect me? Would I come back and be like, ‘I went to the World Cup?’ Is it worth missing time with my family? If not, then why would I do it?”

For more from Nagbe on BSI: The Podcast, check out the full episode here.