The status of dual-nationals who could represent the US men's national team is always a hot subject of debate, and the current roster summoned by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann includes two of intrigue.
Aron Johannsson and John Anthony Brooks (above) have both seemingly pledged their international allegiances with the United States, as they have accepted call-ups for this week's brief US camp ahead of Wednesday's friendly vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina. The camp marks the first time the two youngsters with loads of potential are with the full US national team, but the process to get them there has been in the works for quite some time.
Take Johannsson, for instance. He only recently decided to represent the US men's national team on the international stage, filing his one-time switch to FIFA after having represented Iceland's Under-21 team. But Klinsmann had been involved in trying to recruit Johannsson prior to that, staying in constant contact with the 22-year-old forward who has started the new Eredivisie season by scoring in consecutive games.
"Aron and myself have been in touch for well over a year at least, going back and forth," Klinsmann said in a Q&A with USsoccer.com. "We followed him in Denmark where he broke through, and then his move over the winter to AZ Alkmaar. If not for an injury, Aron would have been with us during the past January camp. We are excited that he has finally joined us and we wait for the final approval from FIFA and then we will get him on the field.
"Aron is one of the very promising strikers in European football. It’s a difficult decision for a player: 'Which country do I want to play for? Whom do I represent when I have both passports?'
"I always tell the player that no matter the background he has that they have to go with their heart. And for Aron, he chose the United States and it’s huge for us, but it’s been a process for over the last year and we are thrilled to finally have him.”
Brooks, too, has been courted by the US for awhile now. The Hertha Berlin center back boasts an impressive combination of skill, strength and size, and that is what has had Klinsmann and U.S Soccer keen on trying to land his services, even while Germany expressed some interest in trying to lure the 20-year-old into their program.
"Having John Anthony Brooks is another exciting move that we can feel proud about in a certain way," said Klinsmann. "Having followed him over the years now, we always are in touch with his club and coaches and it’s easy to see John is a very special talent growing through the Bundesliga ranks. He’s a center back with wonderful vision of the game, very decisive in one-on-one situations and very mature for his age. He was already with us one and half years ago in a U-20 camp we had, so we followed him and he’s breaking through in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin.
"Similar to Aron, we want to have him get integrated into the group and get to know his new buddies and to feel comfortable with us. I think our group is a wonderful bunch of guys that make you feel comfortable from the first second you join them. And of course we’re curious from a coaching perspective to see what he can add to our team, how he’s taking things in during training and possibly in the game against Bosnia. It’s another element we can add and we’re very happy about that.”
As are US fans, who can now set their sights on the next uncommitted dual-national.