Abby Wambach is doubling down on her sentiment that the U.S. men’s national team is relying on too many dual-nationals.
She last year said she disagreed with coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s reliance on “foreign guys,” which several USMNT players took issues with. Asked again about how she feels, she doubled down.
"It’s just my opinion, and I’m entitled to that,” she told the New York Times in an interview released Monday. "It feels a little bit odd to me that you have some guys that have never lived in the United States that play for the United States because they were able to secure a passport. To me, that just feels like they weren’t able to make it for their country and earn a living, so they’re coming here.
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"But do they have that killer instinct? I don’t know,” she continued. "I’d love to sit down with Mix Diskerud and some of these other guys and talk to them about it. I’d love to understand how much they love their country. I believe they can have love for both countries, but I’d love to hear it, and I think so many other people would, too. If this is an ignorant opinion, I’ll raise my hand in the end and say, ‘My bad.’ But I’d want to have that conversation."
USMNT defender John Brooks, seen here with USMNT defender Fabian Johnson, scored the game-winning goal against Ghana for the Americans at the 2014 World Cup. Both Brooks and Johnson were born in Germany. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty)
Wambach’s expanded explanation is not likely to win over anyone though. While she questions the “killer instinct” of some of dual-internationals on the USMNT, Jermaine Jones, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson, three German-born players with fathers in the U.S. military, have been among the team’s very best in recent years. There has been little doubt that they’ve wanted to win just as much as American-born players like Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Claiming dual-nationals can’t "earn a living" in their birth country is a peculiar argument too since players like Brooks and Johnson play club soccer in Germany.
Diskerud, on the other hand, who Wambach singled out, hasn’t been on the USMNT for some time and he doesn’t seem likely to be back anytime soon. Wambach may have mentioned the Norway-born Diskerud specifically because of his response to Wambach’s initial comments, where he told her to "think about who you try to disenfranchise."
Her initial comments came in December, where on the Bill Simmons Podcast she said she didn’t like Klinsmann’s managing techniques. She said: "I also believe the way he has changed and brought in a bunch of these foreign guys is just not something I believe in. Wholeheartedly, I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe it in my heart."
USMNT winger Alejandro Bedoya, a New Jersey native, publicly mocked Wambach after she was arrested for DUI by bringing up her comments.
@FOXSoccer must've been a foreign American player's fault…….
Wambach retired in December from the women’s national team, where she played with one dual-national, Canadian-born Sydney Leroux. More recently, Wambach has been promoting her book, where she discusses her DUI and her struggles with addiction.