Back healthy and scoring again, Aron Johannsson is eyeing a US men’s national team return and eventual MLS move, should he avoid the injuries that have too often hampered his European career.
Johannsson’s now with Hammarby in Sweden’s Allsvenskan, scoring six goals during a seven-game stretch in August and September. It’s the type of form that makes one wonder what could’ve been for the 30-year-old had injuries not taken their toll, derailing a promising career for the Icelandic-American striker.
But since the USMNT’s No. 9 spot isn’t necessarily locked down – Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC) and Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) seem the likeliest options – Johannsson's recent form may make head coach Gregg Berhalter sit up and take notice. Johannsson, in a recent interview with American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta, said he hopes for another invite after his most recent call-up in 2018 failed to come to fruition because of another injury.
“It's just [been] very frustrating because I know I have the qualities to help the team,” Johannsson said. “One of the reasons why I didn't give up is because I feel [I] am still good enough to play for the national [team] and that is 100% my goal – to come back play for the national team.”
Aron Johannsson has been through a lot - including times when he, along with doctors, doubted he could continue playing. But what helped him push through it all was the hope of returning to the #USMNT. The past month, he's been on fire in Sweden. My latest https://t.co/ttBPcOQNHO— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 23, 2020
The USMNT is going through a generational shift of sorts, and the last of Johannsson’s 19 caps came during a September 2015 friendly against Brazil, back when Jurgen Klinsmann was head coach. He has four goals for the senior squad, and even featured at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
But Johannsson told Sciaretta that he’s yet to hear from Berhalter since joining Hammarby in 2019. Johansson burst onto the scene at Aarhus and AZ Alkmaar, though lengthy injuries meant he’d just appear in 30 matches for the Bundesliga’s Werder Bremen.
Whatever comes next for Johannsson on the international scene, he’s hoping to remain healthy. He’s also encouraged by a possible MLS move, though isn’t on the current Allocation List like some other USMNTers of old.
“I've always said I wanted to play in MLS,” Johannsson said. “Maybe we will see in the next few years if I can get that opportunity.”
For more on Johannsson’s journey, check out the entire American Soccer Now story here.