Well, its official now that Neven Subotic has decided to play for Serbia and has informed both the US Soccer Federation and the European press. Its a shame that this rising defensive star won't suit up for the Stars and Stripes but I'm not really that bothered by it given the wave of talent we have coming forward. Our central defense is still very healthy with Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra playing some of the best soccer of their careers right now.
When I look at the quality of the US U-23 and U-20 players coming up these days, it is obvious that enough talent will be available to make up for the loss of players such as Subotic. Our Olympic team had enough quality last summer to have won the gold medal - something we couldn't always say in the past. Instead of European clubs hiring our proven vets, they are scooping up our young talent - can anyone say Altidore, Adu, Bradley, Zizzo, Szetela, Bernardo, and soon Kljestan, Wynne, and others?
I know some of you will want to blame Thomas Rongen, who reportedly rubbed Subotic the wrong way - please don't. Rongen is a respected coach because he knows the game well, trains his players hard, and calls them like he sees them. Besides, he is Dutch - a people known for their blunt honesty and disdain for doublespeak (yet another reason to love them). Does anyone really think if Rongen had given Subotic the "Barney" treatment he would be suiting up for the USA? Please!
So my fellow US soccer fans, let's wish Neven the best of luck playing for his father's homeland and not get too whiny over this development. There are still lots of hungry young players busting their tail every day for a chance to one day pull on that US jersey (and bring home some silver for a change). Let's focus on supporting them.