BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, November 22, 2010
US U20 head coach Thomas Rongen revealed to YA a major announcement today that Bayern Munich and German youth international Fabian Hürzeler will change his affiliation and represent the US.
"We got a commitment actually today for Fabian Hürzeler, the captain of the German [U17] team and he plays for Bayern Munich," Rongen told YA in Atlanta. "He's going to be part of our January camp. That's pretty nice news."
"Like Alex Zahavi, Hürzeler is fluent in English," he continued. "These guys, they're excited about the opportunity. They're honored. But these aren't easy decisions. This guy played for the German youth teams from U15 to U19. We'll keep pushing the envelope. We'll keep finding players that hopefully can help us."
Hürzeler, 17, was born in Houston but was raised in Germany where he has developed into an elite prospect. Over the summer he was also promoted to the reserve team of Bayern Munich despite being eligible to play for the U19 team for two more years. He is the youngest player on the reserve team.
The central midfielder will now be leaving the German setup for that of the US. He will be eligible for the 2011 and 2013 U20 World Cups with the Stars and Stripes.
Since he has played for Germany in official youth national team competitions, Hürzeler will need to file his one-time switch of federations with FIFA if he wants to play for the US in U20 qualifying or the U20 World Cup. He will not need to file the switch for the January U20 camp or to play in any friendlies.
As for whether or not there would be other players in addition to Hürzeler and Zahavi that would switch national teams to play for the US, Rongen did offer a hint.
"There are three or four other guys that I've approached that play at a high level that have represented other countries in qualifying games," he concluded.