Team of Mutts - the US U23 national team

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Sandon Mibut, Mar 22, 2012.

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  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    This may interest only me, as an immigrant's kid, but I'm intrigued by how many of the kids on this roster were either foreign-born or the sons of immigrants themselves.

    Soccer in this country has always been heavily influenced by players who were foreign-born or the sons of people who were. But this roster seemed particularly so.

    PLAYERS ON THE US U23 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING ROSTER WHO WERE BORN ABROAD OR TO A FOREIGN-BORN PARENT

    Freddy Adu – born in Ghana
    Juan Agudelo – born in Colombia
    Terrence Boyd – born in Germany; American dad
    Teal Bunbury – born in Canada; American mom; father born in Guyana
    Joe Benny Corona – Mexican dad; El Salvadoran mom
    Mikkel Diskerud – born in Norway; American mom
    Joe Gyau – n/a
    Bill Hamid – Sierra Leonean father
    Jared Jeffrey – n/a
    Sean Johnson – Jamaican parents
    Perry Kitchen – n/a
    Amobi Okugo – Nigerian parents
    Ike Opara – Nigerian parents
    Kofi Sarkodie – Ghanaian parents
    Brek Shea – n/a
    Michael Stephens – n/a
    Tony Taylor – Panamanian parents
    Zarek Valentin – Puerto Rican father
    Jorge Villafana – Mexican parents
    Sheanon Williams – Trinidadian parents

    Feel free to note any corrections or omissions.

    A couple of notes: I only noted the parents I could confirm were foreign born. A New York Times report says Valentin's mother is German but I could find no other claim to document that. Gyau's grandfather is Ghanaian but his parents both appear to be US-born.


  2. forza inter

    forza inter Member

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    I love how this team does show our country's great diversity and spirit. I'm very proud of this team and it's player's and their backgrounds.
  3. BimmerBenz95

    BimmerBenz95 Member+

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    Zimmerman's head exploded after seeing the list.
  4. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

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    Yup. Gyau's father was born in the US, but his grandfather was the Ghanaian-born footballer Agyemang Gyau.

    Dane Brekken Shea is of Norwegian extraction, but I've always assumed that was thru a grandparent. I don't really know...............


  5. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    Yes, they really are just some Asian kids shy of reflecting pretty much what much of America looks like.

    I love how they do that. A long way from the perceived stereotype of the sport in America as predominantly lily white.

    I don't care who ya are, that's funny right there.

    [​IMG]
  6. forza inter

    forza inter Member

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    ALWAYS funny.
  7. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    Weird I never thought of the sport as predominantly white. It might just be my experience of it.
  8. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    Nor is it my experience. I grew up playing in teams loaded with immigrant kids (and the sons of them) from Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

    However, as I moved up to the elite travel teams (not that my team was really that elite, but it was "select" and it cost money to travel), the team got whiter and the opponents damn sure did.

    And college soccer has certainly been very white till very recently.

    The perception of soccer as lily-white goes part-and-parcel with the whole soccer-mom, orange slices, mini-van, pay-to-play ODP stereotypes.
  9. SUDano

    SUDano Member+

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    And we all know sterotypes exist because in some small form they are true. Its changing but that dynamic is still a somewhat entrenched part of the landscape.
  10. Namdynamo

    Namdynamo Member

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    El Equipo de Todos!
  11. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    For comparison - and to see the stereotype was often based in reality - here's the 1992 US Olympic roster.

    1 Brad Friedel
    2 Cam Rast
    3 Alexi Lalas - Greek father
    4 Mike Burns
    5 Erik Imler
    6 Dario Brose
    7 Dante Washington
    8 Mike Lapper
    9 Steve Snow
    10 Claudio Reyna - Argentine father, Portuguese mother
    11 Yari Allnutt - born in US but lived in Mexico till age 7
    12 Troy Dayak
    13 Joe-Max Moore
    14 Cobi Jones
    15 Zak Ibsen
    16 Manny Lagos
    17 Mike Huwiler
    18 Ian Feuer
    19 Chris Henderson
    20 Curt Onalfo - born in Brazil to US parents

    (I may have missed a few foreign-born parents.)

    Almost all suburban kids, mostly white, far-fewer born abroad or to immigrants' kids.
  12. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    Bingo!
  13. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

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    At our best, we're a nation of mutts. No surprise our teams look this way. However, this is very striking that our team has some many first/second generation citizens on it. Pretty cool still.
  14. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    Goes to show a lot of the bias in a traditional American household. Gatt's dad refused to believe that soccer was a real sport. Sitting on the couch watching games and kicking the ball around out back are starting points for kids to get interested enough to put the effort in to be good.
  15. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes I certainly have heard the ODP stereotype. The one time it really hit home was when my team went to a tournament in Minnesota one year and we were sort of merged with a team from Virginia. It was about half and half we had maybe 10 guys and they had 8 or so. Every one of them were the stereotypical stiff uptight middle class suburban white kids, while on our team we had kids whose parents were Ethiopian, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Indian, Hispanic etc. We didn't have any problems or anything but we were certainly two different sets of kids from two different cultures.


    I'm thinking back to my college soccer team (which I didn't play for but occasionally watched) and I can only think of one or two non white kids off the top of my head.
  16. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

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  17. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    Preston Zimmerman loves American soccer so much that he would never want to take a spot in the US away from another soccer player.



    http://theshinguardian.com/2010/10/26/as-told-by-preston-zimmerman-part-ii/
  18. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

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    Might be interesting to compare this to our women's team.

    [​IMG]
  19. fingersave

    fingersave Member

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    I believe that at least one of Shea's parents is Norwegian.

    That makes 2 Norwegian-descended Americans on the team.
  20. fingersave

    fingersave Member

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    Calling a person "white" is culturally ignorant.

    It's like calling a person "brown" who is from central/south american culture, a person "red" who is from native american culture, calling a person "yellow" or "oriental" who is from east asia, etc.

    The list above is quite diverse in terms of origins.

    But thats niether here nor there, and shouldn't really be a concern of anyone.

    People who see the race over the individual are the problem.
  21. leppercut

    leppercut Member+

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  22. soccerdisciple

    soccerdisciple Member

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    The Mexican women's team was started with Mexican Americans who played at American Universities. What about Amy Rodrigues? She still plays for USA?
  23. fingersave

    fingersave Member

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  24. Grumpy in LA

    Grumpy in LA Bringing It Since 1807™

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    Sure, but races are cultural inventions shaped by the knowledge and the ignorance of the culture in question. (So are cultures, by definition.) And for a long time in America, racial categories were pretty blunt, organized around slavery and wars of expansion, and strongly tied to the interests of particular dominant classes. And we live with those legacies today in this country, so saying that "there are a lot of white (or brown or black or whatever) people involved in Activity X" isn't a sign that somebody's "ignorant of culture," it's a sign that somebody's fluent in American culture.

    The racial categories themselves were and often still are based on pernicious, self-serving nonsense, but they shaped and shape people's lives pretty thoroughly. So to notice that certain player pools end up, say, "whiter" or "browner" than nationwide statistics would suggest isn't "ignorant"--it's just noticing that in this country racial and cultural categories bleed into one another in certain ways and thus shape people's lives in certain ways.

    Or, encouragingly, that in the case of the U-23s, the categories suggest that race, culture, and national origin aren't nearly as decisive as they once were in shaping people's lives here. Which is nice to see.
  25. Minnesota FC 518

    Minnesota FC 518 Member

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    USA Cup?
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