Thursday, October 4, 2007

Potential impact

Both the U.S. and Mexico were in similar situations regarding a talented native son who also had connections to other countries.

Guiseppe Rossi is to the U.S. what Nery Castillo was to Mexico earlier this year. Rossi was born in the States and left the country as a teenager to pursue soccer abroad. Castillo was born in Mexico and was in Europe by his late teens. Both players established themselves on strong clubs and left their home country's national teams salivating at their respective prospects.

But where the tales differ is here: Castillo chose to play for Mexico while Rossi has yet to make the same choice.

Now, I must admit I was wrong about Castillo. Sure, I knew he had talent but I thought he wasn't worth the effort and wasn't worth the headache. If he wanted to play for Mexico, fine, but if he felt the urge to play for another country, why bother trying to persuade him otherwise? I mean, either you want to play for your home country or not, right?

Well, it's not that straightforward. Castillo probably felt a tug between Mexico and Uruguay, land of his roots, and Greece, where he played professionally. In the end, he chose Mexico and El Tri will reap the rewards for years to come.

Rossi is a talent, no doubt. He's got a good soccer lineage and is making his mark in La Liga. It's not unreasonable to think that he could be to the U.S. on the field what Castillo has been to Mexico. Castillo has brought a new style of play to El Tri and hasn't followed the mold of many of Mexico's former players. Having virtually no connection to U.S. Soccer, Rossi would in essence be a foreigner on the U.S. team, foreign in the sense that all of his soccer skills have been developed overseas.

But is he worth the struggle? Should Bob Bradley continue to pursue him when he's made it clear that he wants to play for Italy, however unrealistic that may or may not be?

And should Bradley, at least partially, be remembered for his ability or inability to cap Rossi?


albert said...

You are incorrect about Castillo leaving Mexico as a teen.He left before the age of two.

L.B. said...

You're right, albert. I was thinking ahead to him being in Europe as a teenager.

Albert said...

This is an odd revelation. Why would you acknowledge this if it was not further along than it is? I would think you would want to keep this in the back channels as much as you can. This might be one of the defining moments for BB. Like you, I thought Nery was just playing Mexico and not worth the hoops Mexico was jumping through. Well, Nery was on par of being the best player in Copa with Messi and Riquelme. Mexico fans must have felt like they just won the lottery with Nery. I’ve seen Rossi play in the Dallas Cup. He might not be as fast as Nery but his skills and finishing can be his equal.

My Opinion Over Yours said...

To answer your first question- Yes, it would be worth the struggle. How often does the conversation about the U.S. come down to the inability of their forwards to finish.

I doubt Bradley is the reason why he wouldn't join. Perhaps the lack of surrounding talent would be an issue.

What's this business about him being a foreigner? The kid has only lived outside of Jersey for five years, which is less time than Feilhaber spent in Brazil. Simek spent a majority of his soccer youth in English camps. Freddy Adu was here for only around 5 years until he was proclaimed the savior of American soccer.

The only thing that separates Rossi from the rest of the team is that he has an actual chance of playing for Italy.

L.B. said...

I meant a foreigner in soccer terms, with a style groomed in Europe unlike someone like Freddy Adu who was born elsewhere but has been part of the US soccer system since he was 10 or whatever.

My Opinion Over Yours said...

ok, i can see that point. But, doesn't that just make him more attractive? Rossi, Altidore, Adu, and Bradley seem to make for a formidable core, no?

jason said...

Rossi should pick the team that will play him.

Italy is the sort of organization that would play him for a few minutes just so he can't play for the US.

I hate to talk that way but we've seen that sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I think the main difference is that Italy are the World champions and if you can play for them, even if you have to beg, most people would. I don't blame him. What do they have 3 titles and 4 or 5 finals?

The way I see it, Nery is the peson who won the lottery...when he was born with these unique genetic talents and it allowed him to play for 2 and possibly 3 nations. Clearly, Mexico, was a team "on the rise" and he hedged his bets and chose El Tri. A terrific Copa America earned him a 16 million euro transfer! And since Mexico and the US are virtually guaranteed spots in South Africa 2010, it was a good move on his part.

Funny how Lavolpe blew it big time, can you imagine Nery playing for Mexico during Germany 06' instead of Guille Franco...but I digress.

The US needs Rossi! And Gulati, Bradley and co. have to step it up. Can you imagine Altidore, Adu, Dempsey and Rossi as the attack? Way better than Landicakes led teams.

The main similarity I see is that Hugo extended his job status with the Nery sweepstakes and Bob Bradely might need Rossi to do the same.


Anonymous said...

Does Rossi really have a realistic chance to play for Italy? If so will it be meaningful playing time?

Matt said...

Does Rossi really have a realistic chance to play for Italy?

Toni is clearly Italy's best striker right now, but he's 30. Pippo is 34 and playing like crap, while his teammate Gilardino is younger but also playing like crap. Di Natale and Lucarelli look like the main options going forward.

So, yes, I would say there's room for Rossi to get a game.