BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The number of Americans playing in the World Cup this summer was reduced by one today as Giuseppe Rossi was cut from the Italian World Cup team by head coach Marcello Lippi.
Rossi, 23, was born in New Jersey to Italian born parents and famously turned down repeated requests to play for the United States in hopes to play for the country of his heritage.
In 2005 US head coach Bruce Arena tried to call Rossi in for a friendly against Scotland and Rossi declined. He also declined a World Cup invitation from Arena in 2006.
Rossi has continuously tried to play both sides of his dual nationalities.
In 2009, he admitted to Goal.com that being considered an Italian player made things easier for him career-wise.
"I have always dreamed of being a professional player," Rossi told the website. "It is easier to do so in Italy."
Rossi has also made strange comments about feeling different emotions once he steps on the field and this has played a role in his choice.
"Off the field, I have always felt American. On the field I've always felt Italian," Rossi told ESPN last month.
Rossi played a role for the Italian team this cycle in World Cup qualifying and in the Confederations Cup where he scored two goals against a 10-man United States team. The Italians, however, failed to advance out of the group where the US went to the finals. His only other goal for Italy was against Northern Ireland in a friendly in Pisa.
If Rossi's overall dream is to play in a World Cup, his decision to play for Italy has backfired in a tremendous way. While he still has a chance to play for Italy in four years, he likely would have been a starter this summer for the United States up top with Jozy Altidore.
After watching both his countries play in the World Cup this summer on television, Rossi will focus on finding a club team after his contract with Villarreal runs out this summer. The American will try and hope to break into the Italian team once again as they prepare for Euro 2012 qualifying in the fall.