Preston Zimmerman made a name for himself on Wednesday, though not for the right reasons.
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An American soccer player plying his trade in the lower levels of Germany, the Pasco, Washington-born midfielder gained instant notoriety when he took to Twitter to criticize US men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s use of "fake American[s]."
"Requirements to get on US National team under Klinsmann: Be a fake American, be born outside the US, have one US distant relative," Zimmerman posted as part of an 18-tweet attack on Klinsmann’s selection policies.
Since being appointed head coach in July, Klinsmann has given national team call ups to four German-born players: 21-year-old defenders Timothy Chandler and Alfredo Morales; 24-year-old midfielder Fabian Johnson; and 22-year-old midfielder Danny Williams.
The quartet have combined to make 14 appearances, all in international friendlies, with Chandler establishing himself as the team’s first choice left fullback.
"I see the team is calling in guys who are really germans who know they’ve got no chance of playing for germany so they’ll settle with the US."
"I would just like to see true, real Americans who would live and die for this country representing our country."
Zimmerman equated the quality of some of the US’ German-born options with college players – players who never get national team call ups.
"The kids in college are just as good, if not better, than some of the kids from the reserve teams getting invited to camp," Zimmerman tweeted, "But the college kids don’t speak German and they don’t have ties outside the US so they don’t qualify for the US under Klinsmann."
"I know plenty of guys who are in the MLS and know what it’s like to play for their country who deserve a look for the US team."
Zimmerman, a 23-year old midfielder who moved to Germany to become a professional at 18, cited the US’s lack of victories under Klinsmann as reason to reconsider selection policy.
"If Klinsmann was winning and very successful with his approach then my words would carry no weight, but I don’t see any success," Zimmerman tweeted, alluding to the US’ two wins in seven matches under the new coach.
"I hope the US team wins and dominates just as much as anybody else because it’s my country and I want my country to be #1 and dominate."
Klinsmann was hired in July, replacing Bob Bradley after the US’ 4-2 loss to Mexico in the final of June’s regional championship, the Gold Cup.
Klinsmann had been linked with the US job after the 2006 World Cup, where he led Germany to semifinals. A long-time resident of California, Klinsmann ultimately turned down the job, with Bradley hired instead.
Klinsmann eventually spent one season as head coach of German club power Bayern Munich.
The 47-year-old is best known for his playing day with German national team, helping Germany to the 1990 World Cup. His 47 goals and 108 appearances both rank third in German history.
Zimmerman moved to German in 2007, playing with the Hamburg reserves. After one season, he moved to Kapfenberg in Austria, returning to Germany a year later.
After spending the 2010-11 season with the Mainz reserves, Zimmerman signed with third-division club Darmstadt this summer.