Ives Galarcep had a good post today, Hating Giuseppe Rossi, that made me think a bit about this American-born emerging soccer star who scored twice against the US team yesterday at the Confederations Cup. Rossi was born and raised in New Jersey but due to FIFA regulations is allowed to play for Italy since both his parents were born there.
On the one hand I’m sad that a player of his quality, who could easily be part of a new generation that might have lifted our national team quality to where we’d be serious challengers for World Cups, decided to play for a nation that is the reigning World Cup holder and has no shortage of top flight players. Neven Subotic, a defender, seems to fall into this bucket as well.
Soccer fans from other countries criticize our team and say we’ll never really measure up, but if our potential world class stars play for Italy or Serbia how can we?
I have no issue with Americans playing club ball in Europe or Mexico. Heck, this only makes them better when they line up in red, white and blue. And honestly, MLS is years away from the financial state that will allow them to be competitive with those clubs. Having Dempsey, Gooch, Altidore and so forth playing MLS ball doesn’t seem likely to put all that many more fannies in seats for now.
The other issue I have with Rossi’s choice is tied in with how I feel about California ballots and other printed literature coming in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and other languages and having to listen to business phone lines tell me to press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish over and over.
I have no problem with legal immigration in America, in fact I think our country has benefitted enormously from it. But if someone comes here because the opportunity is so much better than where he or she was born and especially if that opportunity becomes reality, than these people should be Americans.
Not just legally but culturally. Celebrate your heritage–I am after all president of the Jewish High Tech Community–but learn English, be part of the whole community and not just your local ex-country’s and when it comes to sports root for the frakking US team. If your family is from Italy and the Italian team is playing Brazil root for Italy but if its Italy v. US, root for the USA.
And if your kid starts showing serious soccer skills, raise him to believe that his highest (sports) destiny is to wear our colors! Not the colors of the country that you left behind for a better life.