BEAVERTON, Ore. – Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter broke a bit of news earlier this week when he revealed on MLSsoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio that US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had been in touch to talk about Darlington Nagbe.
Apparently that was news to Nagbe, as well.
Speaking after the Timbers’ training session on Friday at the team facility ahead of their #DecisionDay matchup on Sunday with the Colorado Rapids (7 pm ET, ESPN3, MLS LIVE), Nagbe said Porter’s comments that Klinsmann "likes him" and is “very interested in bringing him in” was the first he’s heard on the subject.
“He tries not to tell me that stuff,” Nagbe said of Porter. “He just wants me to go out there and play, and he keeps telling me that if I keep doing what I’m doing and everything else will happen. So I’m just going to focus on that. But it was good to hear.”
Nagbe also provided more insight into the process of being cleared by FIFA, the only step left for him to become fully eligible to represent the US after becoming a naturalized citizen in mid-September. The Liberian native said he’s submitted all the necessary paperwork and is waiting to hear back from FIFA in the hopes that everything is finalized in time for the November international window.
That would make the 25-year-old Nagbe – who is set to make a Timbers' record 160th appearance for the club that drafted him No. 2 overall in the 2011 SuperDraft - eligible for the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent & The Grenadines (Nov. 13) and Trinidad & Tobago (Nov. 17).
“Like I said, being able to represent your country in any sport, no matter what it is, is an amazing feeling, so hopefully it comes up,” Nagbe said.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.