Archive for the ‘Neven Subotic’ Category

Some Great Soccer Writing

January 25, 2009

As we do every now and then, its time to point out some of the great soccer writing out there these days.

Here is piece of brilliant writing by Rob Hughes on how after a terrible storm took the lives of four boys in Barcelona, the team gave the grieving city something to cheer about.

Also, this one is three weeks old but its still worth pointing out Brent Lathem’s insightful article on Neven Subotic’s decision to play for Serbia instead of the USA. Brent offers some perspectives few others have been privy to (including yours truly) which I’ve got to say has opened my eyes. So, In my humble opinion, Brent’s piece is must reading for anyone who wants to know what happened.

And for you Liverpool fans out there enjoying the club’s success after the doldrums of the 1990s, the Observer’s Andy Hunter does a great job of examining the downfall of Kenny Dalglish in “The Day The Magic Walked Out Of Anfield.”

If you want to nominate some great soccer writing you’d like us to feature, just drop us a line here.

Its Official: Subotic To Play For Serbia

December 24, 2008

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.

More Subotic Rumors

December 19, 2008

Local paper Il Mattino is reporting that SSC Napoli is close to acquiring Neven Subotic from Borussia Dortmund. The 20 year-old defender seems to be part of Napoli’s plans to strengthen the squad after securing a Champions League berth during the home stretch of the season. He is expected at Castel Volturno in June where your loyal vagabond will be sure to have a word with him….if he shows up. Given the number of unfounded rumors which find their way into the local papers, I’ll believe this one when the clubs make an official announcement.

And guess who may actually be coming to Napoli (and could play alongside Subotic in central defense)? None other than hometown boy Fabio Cannavaro, the 2006 World Cup MVP currently under contract with Real Madrid. Current word in Napoli is that he may show up a January transfer to play alongside little brother Paolo Cannavaro who currently plays central defense. The idea that a dream central defense of the hometown Cannavaro brothers could be spoiled by signing Subotic also tells my spidey sense that he may not be coming to town.

Fabio has made it clear he’d like to finish his career in Napoli and the sputtering Real Madrid may want to let the ageing Italian international go to make room for new talent. If Subotic actually does arrive in June, it could get crowded talent-wise in central defense. Its not clear yet how coach Edy Reja would organize the influx of talent but one thing is clear, Napoli’s ambitions for the coming year are clear.

While the local papers are referring to Subotic as a “young American player,” Serbian coach Radomir Antic is now saying that the defender has committed to play for the White Eagles and will make his debut in February against Cyprus. Its hard to tell if this claim is true because Subotic has yet to make an announcement himself and he has been stating for months that he won’t decide on that matter until the end of the season. While it is plausible that he may have changed his mind in the midst of the Napoli deal, I remain skeptical on this one until we hear it from Neven himself.

Update: USA Loses Out On Subotic? Not So Fast!

November 15, 2008

Fox Sports is citing a Serbian news source indicating that Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic has decided to play for Serbia, not the USA. I’m skeptical of this report for a few reasons; first, if Subotic was going to make such an announcement, his club would be among the first to release the news (and BVB insiders tell us that Subotic has said nothing about any such decision). Secondly, similar reports have been floating around in the Serbian media for the past six months and none have turned out to be true. So, my spidey sense tells me its not a done deal.

Of course his father, Zeljko Subotic, told last month that he would prefer his son played for the White Eagles when he said: “My heart tells me that Neven should decide on Serbia…for me, I would get much satisfaction out of seeing him playing in a Serbian jersey.” Despite his father’s wishes, which must weigh heavily on the young superstar’s mind, there is still no official announcement from Subotic, his club, nor the Serbian football association.

If this rumor turns out to be true, US fans will surely be sad to see yet another promising national team player get away. That said, this fan understands that Subotic may choose to honor his family over his adopted homeland. If given the choice, what would you do?

In any case, LFV would love to see Subotic in USA jersey but if he chooses Serbia, we wish him the best. Meanwhile, Subotic just scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in Dortmund’s 4-0 romp over Eintracht Frankfurt this afternoon.

Bradley, ‘Gladbach Get First Road Win Of Season

November 8, 2008

It took 12 weeks but Borussia Moenchengladbach finally recorded its first road win of the season by downing Arminia Bielefeld 2-0. Michael Bradley went the full 90 and contributed offensively and defensively to the effort – a positive sign after only five previous appearances, mostly as a substitute.

‘Gladbach coach Hans Meyer changed five players from last week’s 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt but it was German youth phenom Marko Marin who scored both goals for the Foals, staring with a brilliant 6th minute free kick from 20 meters out which tucked just inside the left post. Marin’s second came in the 80th minute when he mis-kicked a one-timer which still found the back of the net.

The three points pulled Gladbach out of the relegation zone with 10 points and left Bielefeld in 17th place with 8 points. The Foals will need to collect at least 28 points in their remaining 26 matches if they hope to stay up in the Bundesliga. It won’t be easy, especially with next week’s test coming against Bayern Munich.

Up north in Hamburg, Neven Subotic and the other Borussia, Dortmund that is, fought hard but fell 2-1, despite the Bosnian-American defender contributing to several dangerous chances and taking two shots of his own.

Elsewhere in Germany tonight, a nagging back injury will keep Grover Gibson out of Rot Weiss Ahlen’s side in their Second Bundesliga match against Duisburg. Tomorrow afternoon, Heath Pearce and Hansa Rostock take on VFL Osnabruck in their own DKB Arena.

FIFA: Subotic Can’t Play For Germany

October 24, 2008

Borussia Dortmund’s 19 year-old Yugoslavian-born American defender Neven Subotic has been ruled ineligible to play for Germany by FIFA. German coach Joachim Loew took interest in Subotic after his explosion onto the Bundesliga scene this fall in a series of outstanding performances for BVB. So, instead of trying to grab another player through naturalization, Germany will need to look elsewhere for a new central defender.

The basis of the decision is that in 2005, Subotic had played in a U-17 match for the USA. So, after first participating in an international competition, he is ineligible to play only for countries of which he was already a citizen; Serbia or the USA (or possibly Bosnia). Once he plays in a full international match for one of these three countries, he is only eligible to play for them for the rest of his career.

So, will Subotic decide to line up alongside Oguchi Onyewu in central defense for the Stars and Stripes who appear to be cruising toward World Cup Qualification? Will Bob Bradley call him in for the USA’s next World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on November 19th?

Or, will he decide to cast his lot with the White Eagles, currently in a 4-way tie for second in a tough qualifying group which includes France, Romania, Austria, and current group leader Lithuania? We may find out soon if coach Radomir Antic calls him in for the November 19th friendly against Bulgaria.

Or, will he spurn both and suit up for Bosnia-Herzegovina, currently third in their qualifying group behind Turkey and Belgium? Whichever team he plays for, Subotic has proven that he can be an impact player right away.

Edu And Adu Make Club Debuts, Subotic and Dortmund Avoid Disaster

September 13, 2008

Fresh home from international duty this week, Maurice Edu was not expected to play for Rangers this week against Kilmarnock. A late failed fitness test by Kevin Thopmson pressed Edu into duty as a starter in his debut for his new club before 50,000 home fans. Fellow American DaMarcus Beasley, also fresh back from Chicago, was also on the field as the Ibrox club found themselves down 1-0 in the early going.

Shortly after the Kilmarnock goal, Beasley had a chance to even the score on a nice through ball from Edu but he was tackled off the ball by James Fowler. A tiring Beasley was replaced at the half by Nacho Novo, who drew a 58th minute foul in penalty area to allow Kris Boyd to even the score at 1-1. Boyd would score again four minutes later to make it 2-1, a tally which turned out tho be the game winner. Edu acquitted himself adequately in his debut, playing the full 90 minutes.

In an interview with the Rangers’ official website, Edu expressed his thoughts on the debut: “It was a great experience. The fans are amazing. It was great to get a win in my first game, especially as we had to battle back from a goal down but I think that just shows the confidence that the team has and the strength and character of the squad.”

Up in Germany, Neven Subotic’s Borussia Dortmund had their hands full with arch rival Schalke 04. A 20th minute Subotic handball in the penalty area allowed Schalke to take a 1-0 lead on a Jefferson Farfan penalty. By the 60th minute, BVB was down 3-0 before Subotic got one back in the 67th to put Dortmund on the board (his third goal of the young season). A pair of Alexander Frei goals allowed Dortmund to finish the game at 3:3, completing an impressive comeback to earn the point.

In French action, American defender Carlos Bocanegra put in a solid 90 minutes in Stade Rennais’ 1-1 draw with Havre FC. Also, American forward Freddy Adu made his first appearance for AS Monaco, coming on in the 79th minute of a 2-0 win over FC Lorient. American Andrew Jacobson did not dress for Lorient.

Down in Italy, American midfielder Danny Szetela went the distance for Serie B side Brescia in a 1-1 draw with Bari. Elsewhere in Europe, Jozy Altidore is listed as among the 18 for Villarreal’s Sunday match with Deportivo La Coruña.

Subotic Named To European Team Of The Week

September 2, 2008

Borussia Dortmund’s Bosnian-American Neven Subotic was named to La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s European Best 11 today after another strong performance this weekend. For the second time in three weeks, he combined stout defending with offensive contributions, scoring the game winnner for the second time this season, this week against Energie Cottbus.

Subotic is also one of three finalists for the Bundesliga Player of the Month, a contest which is decided by the fans by calling in with their mobile phones.

Questions still remain in what country Subotic will play for since he is eligible to play for the USA (of which he is a citizen), Bosnia, Serbia, and even possibly Germany. Dortmund teammate Sebastain Kehl has been advocating that Subotic be brought into the German team and when asked by Kicker yesterday, Subotic remarked that “I can play for several countries, maybe Germany as well.”

For more transfer news (with a sense of humor) check out Adam’s great article here.

Subotic: Has The US Lost Him Already?

August 28, 2008

After last night’s excellent showing by Oguchi Onyewu in Standard’s 1-0 Champion’s League loss to Liverpool, his stock is peaking at just three days before the transfer deadline. Another American defender in Europe is also on the rise as young Neven Subotic continues to show he is a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga. This weekend, he marked Bayern Munich’s Italian international Luca Toni out of the match in a 1-1 draw at Subotic’s Borussia Dortmund. His play this year indicates Subotic has confidence and tactical competence beyond his years – yet he continues to improve.

While Subotic continues to impress and Onyewu appears poised to make a jump to the next level, this pair could evolve as a high quality central defense for the United States – one which could have a very positive impact on the US team making some noise at the 2010 World Cup. A pairing of the 6’4″ twin towers of Onyewu and Subotic could form the nucleus of a back line opponents would dread. Alas, Onyewu is a national team regular while Subotic has yet to be called up.

A month ago, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle (a friend of LFV) reported that US coach Bob Bradley “refused to take any questions regarding Subotic’s situation.” So, it remains unclear whether US coach Bob Bradley is already considering calling up Subotic or has already tried and been rebuffed. Word on the street in Germany is that Subotic was unhappy with with his US youth team experience and was actually pining to play for Germany (which is looking less likely).

Whispers here in Europe also indicate that one coach who does seem interested in calling up Subotic is new Serbian coach Radomir Antic, who took the reins of the White Eagles last week. The former Real Madrid boss has been charged with guiding Serbia to World Cup qualification from a tough group which includes France and Romania. After Serbia’s disappointing showing at the Olympics, their federation is looking for new blood and Subotic’s work this season has been too hard to ignore. Antic has already gone after Barcelona’s uncapped teenage striker Bojan Krkic (who can play for Serbia or Spain) so don’t expect him to be shy about Subotic.

So, if US Coach Bob Bradley and the USSF cannot soon convince Subotic to play for the Stars and Stripes, it may be too late to bring in this rising young star. After losing Giuseppe Rossi to the Azzurri last year, I’m afraid letting another starlet go could be more that the US faithful could bear.

Last winter Subotic said he would make a decision about which national team to play for; the USA, Serbia, or Bosnia-Herzegivina. While it is not clear yet what he decided, since Serbia plays the Faroe Islands on September 6th, and France four days later – we may find out Subotic’s decision soon enough.

Edu To Rangers, Subotic and Gibson Score, Pearce On The Move?

August 17, 2008

Various UK news sources, including Sky Sports and the Globe and Mail are reporting that the final details are being worked out in a deal to bring American Maurice Edu (picured to the right) from Toronto to Glasgow Rangers. After returning from Olympic duty in China, Edu was supposed to be in Glasgow yesterday for Rangers’ home opener against Hearts to iron out a deal worth a reported $5 million. Rangers boss Walter Smith confirmed the reports but cautioned that it all “depends on a work permit so it will be a few days before we know about that.”

If the deal goes through, the young central midfielder will become the third American to pull on the distinctive blue and white striped Rangers jersey after former midfielder Claudio Reyna and current left midfielder DaMarcus Beasley.

At the same time my buddy Greg Seltzer tells us that some Bundesliga clubs may be interested in acquiring Hansa Rostock’s American defender Heath Pearce. If this is the case (and Greg is usually right on), then my spidey sense tells me that interest may coming from none other than Borussia Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp (who recently brought American Neven Subotic from FSV Mainz with him). After BVB’s star left back Dede was injured in yesterday’s 3-2 win over Leverkusen (in which Subotic scored the match winner in the 49th), Dortmund is in dire need of an experienced left back. Dede will have knee surgery on Monday and will miss at least half of the season. Thus, a Bundesliga-experienced left back like Pearce could be exactly what BVB needs.

In the Second Bundesliga yesterday, LR Ahlen’s American striker Grover Gibson (pictured to the left) scored a 56th minute goal to put his team to a 1-0 lead in a 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

American defender Steve Cherundolo and his Hannover 96 squad had a rough Bundesliga start in a 3-0 loss to Schalke 04, giving up two goals in the first seven minutes. Hannover’s other American, defender Sal Zizzo, did not play.

Still waiting on Freddy Adu’s arrival, AS Monaco tied FC Nantes last night 1-1. After a disappointing midweek 2-1 UEFA Cup loss to Norway’s Stabaek, Carlos Bocanegra went the full 90 minutes in central defense as his Stade Rennais side lost to Ligue 1 newcomer Grenoble 1-0. FC Lorient midfielder Andrew Jacobson did not dress as his team held French league juggernaut Olympique Lyon to a 0-0 draw.