“Growing up my dad would always say that he was never the smartest or brightest but he worked the hardest and that’s why he did the best,” John said. “That work ethic was instilled in me and I pride myself on working hard. I don’t take shortcuts. “I was never a kid that got called into youth select teams and regional coaches never called me in. I’m the kid that worked hard to get where I’m at and I'm one of the few still standing.” -George John Most here have heard arguments for John's inclusion with the USMNT (-sigh- mainly from me) based on his size,strength, speed, technical proficiency, tactical prowess, leadership and work product. Unfortunately focusing the conversation on those attributes/accomplishments cheapens the debate because, while notable, it ignores THE most important characteristic he possess ...a foundational characteristic we should expect and demand from our national team players....HEART. While I wont call out which players I believe lack heart or have shown a capability of forgetting their heart at home at times I will say that playing timid, being error prone, “falling asleep”, and not hustling in (any game much less ) a BIG game is not and should not be par for the course for a USMNT “noob” I wanted to give just a few examples of Johns heart on display... namely his MLS Combine, his performances in the MLS Cup run of 2010, and his game vs. Inter Milan. I also felt it prudent, due to rampant misinformation and mischaracterizations about John on this site, to included a brief bio and career summary. College: 1st team NSCAA Far West Regional selection, 1st team All Pac 10 selection,1st team All American Scholar Athlete, Herman Trophy watch list as a CENTRAL MIDFIELDER A viscous tackle resulted in season ended knee injury (surgery) in late October 2008. MLS 2009: *MLS Draft combine: John attended the MLS combine 3months later and volunteered to play CB when nobody else was willing to. Despite playing at maybe 70% and out of position (He was a CM) Ives reported John was the defensive star of the scrimmages outplaying the #1 (predraft) ranked defender Gonzalez throughout combine on his way to being drafted in the 1st round by FC Dallas.Went onto earning starting spot a few games into season. Was then in and out of lineup suffering from hamstring issues related to knee injury. MLS 2010: *Friendly vs. Inter Milan John was the best player on the field that day. numerous interceptions, tackles, 90+% passing, and a goal. MLS Cup Playoffs: *Vs: RSL Returned from late regular season injury to play key 2nd leg game at Rio Tinto aka the fortress. “He (George) had a big game for us,that last 25 minutes, the ball was down on our end of the field maybe 75 percent of the time. There were crosses, second crosses and doubleheaders, a lot of things going on."-Schellas Hyndman *Vs: LA “the night's best defensive performance goes to the Greek, George John. John completely owned Buddle all night, ..John didn't give LA's best scorer any space, but did give him some bruises to take home” -ESPN. He also scored. *Vs: CO (Simon Borg MLS.COM) It was MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto. FC Dallas central defender George John, arguably the best young player on the field in that championship match against the Colorado Rapids, was about to get sucked into a bizarre sequence that decided the game. "It's my fault. It cost us the Cup. I should have done better with it," he said. "I take full responsibility for it."...."I feel like I'm in the twilight zone, in shock," added John. "Kind of a surreal moment. I tried to compose myself as well as I could, get back on the field and help my team out. I got a shot off, but we ended up losing. So …" The headline has to be the own goal but John was an absolute beast all game shutting down Casey and Cummings while completing over 90% of his passes. His left footed cracker of an equalizing attempt in the 111st minute earned Pickens #16 on MLS.COM's top 50 MLS Cup moments. MLS 2011: Played more minutes then Brek Shea (including Breks USMNT games) while FC Dallas played in USOC and CCL. John had 3 goals and one assist on the year in MLS play. Although you could use one hand to count the goals he was responsible for, the teams second half struggles at winning (read scoring) were universally penned on John having post transfer syndrome. This was the popular narrative despite John maintaining an IDENTICAL points total and passing completion percentage (85%) through both halves of the year, while remaining in the top 10 of the newly minted Castrol Index the entire year. He was ranked #2 in soccer Americas best MLS CB's at year end. MLS 2012: After West Ham loan John quickly earned back his #1 spot after only a couple of games back with FCD (no preseason). While not getting on the score-sheet in league play, John continued his good form maintaining a high passing/low turnover percentage and trademark excellent 1v1 defending but his efforts were tarnished by seemingly endemic late game screw-ups by teammates. 2013 ? - After just 1.5 weeks of full training he played great in his first game of the preseason vs Swedish team AIK Now of course (with the exception of Inter-Milan) all those performances were against MLS competition...but if he has the HEART, has the SKILL, and has the physical attributes...why wouldn't he succeed?