Italy coach Marcello Lippi announced his final 23-man roster for South Africa 2010 yesterday, and New Jersey–born Villareal striker Giuseppe Rossi was not on it.
Rossi, who graced the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s May 17 issue (left), under the header, “Meet America’s Best Hope at the World Cup …” (ouch), addressed the news on his Twitter account, writing,
“Didn’t make it, but I have no regrets…worked hard and showed what I could do. I guess the coach had other plans. Good luck Italy.”
Now, we’re not ones to gloat, and Rossi is only 23, so he’ll have another shot with the Azzurri, but man, this could have been a win-win for everyone involved: The U.S. needs a quality forward, and Rossi, whose Twitter account says “Hometown is always NJ” [!] needs a World Cup team.
This way, nobody wins.
In other what-might-have-been news, former U.S. youth international Neven Subotic did make Serbia’s team, which will battle Germany, Ghana and Australia in a tough Group D.
With the U.S.’s needs at the back starkly exposed in recent friendlies, count Subotic as another player the Yanks could have used. And he was in the U.S. program for some time.
The rangy, sought-after defender has said that a falling out with U.S. under-20 coach Thomas Rongen contributed to his decision to leave U.S. Soccer, but yesterday, he told Ives Galarcep,
“The main point that I based my decision on was my heritage, origin and family. It was a step back to my birthplace. I was always different than the American kids because my parents were from Yugoslavia. I was raised a different way all my life, and even though my family and I learned to love the U.S., we were still Serbs.”
Maybe so, but the fact that Subotic was in the U.S. system for years (he was called up to the senior national team just months after being cut from the 2007 U-20 World Cup team) makes his departure even tougher to take than that of Rossi, who made his intentions to play for Italy clear from the start.