October 31st, 2012
03:25 PM ET

German-born soccer stars choose to play for U.S. national team

In October, the U.S. men's national soccer team advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the World Cup, thanks in part to a half-dozen German-born players fathered by African-American soldiers in the U.S. military.

The choice to play for the U.S. men's national soccer team rather than the German team relates not just to their parents' homelands, but to their racial identities. Soccer player Danny Williams told his parents he felt more American than German.

“When people look at me in Germany, they know that I am not 100% German," Williams says.

Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Who is Black in America?"  airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on December 9 on CNN.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rapha

    I agree with the most people here. It's not a kind of racismen. The answer is simple. Football player wants to play. And if they have no chance to play in one country they are choosing another country, mainly where they have a second passport.
    I am German, my son is German-Mexican and I am not afraid that my son will have problems here in Germany. Would be great if he could play in the German first soccer team. If it's not enough he can play in Mexico either but he shouldn't talk bad about these countries and look for excuses.
    It's as simple as it can be.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Koki Magiko

    The German national team is always one of the favorites in the World Cup and European Cup. In order to play for the German national team you got to be world class. Therefore making the the German national team requires making the starting 11 at a top tier club and being a star. The German league is currently the 3rd best in the world. Its a lot easier making the US team.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ed Mroz

    Along the same line. There are Americans playing pro basketball for a Moscow team (as in Russia).

    November 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MurfAtHome

    Die already dooley, before you take another breath that could've been taken by a swine.

    November 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    Even if they made their decision based on skill level, I think it's kind of cool that even if they couldn't get the opportunity in Germany, they looked to the US as a source of opportunity. Sound like a familiar story? I heard it once described as "uniquely American."

    (and yes, i am full aware they are not the first dual nationals to make such a decision, but still, kind of cool)

    November 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    This article is totally misleading (I can tell you that since I'm a soccer fan and I follow these things). First of all, the reason why these German-American players are opting to play in the US is because they know they will never get to play in the German national team because they are simply not good enough. I'm sorry but these players are not super stars, they are barely known in Germany and usually play in small teams in the first or second division leagues. Their only hopes of being in a World cup lies in playing in the US where the team is not as good as the German and they have a shot at being called to play. This has nothing to do with race (I think Germany is among the most open societies in the World). Just look at the German national team, it has players like Lucas Poldolski and Miroslav Klose who were born in Poland and players like Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira who have Turkish-German heritage. I can also mention black players who play in the national team like Odonkor and Boateng. Race has nothing to do with their decisions.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weaksauce

      I follow American soccer and dual national players

      Fabian Johnson (German/American) plays for the USMNT is the second best LB in the bundesliga behind German national team player philipp lahm.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • BranDo

        No way. He ain't bad at the game and played fine against S04 last weekend but 2nd best LB in the Bundesliga.....

        Germain Jones even played for the German NT before switching to the USMNT.

        I nod and agree with John.

        November 6, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Soccer Fan

      I agree. It's not a race issue as it is a skills issue.....

      November 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ipuke

      true story^

      November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • rrc

      You're absolutely right. Their decision is based on which team will take them and which team is more likely to give them playing time.

      Soccer players, or any other sport, who have dual citizenship and have a crack at making either the U.S. Team or their other national team will play for the team which will give them playing time. In the case of soccer, playing for the US Team will usually be the "sure" bet. After all, why be part of a team if you're going to be on the bench with no chance of playing?

      November 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |

      John is right, everybody just nod and agree....

      November 6, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jay1934

      Thanks for telling like it is. Klinsman has to wake up.

      June 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RC

    Daedelus, no it isn't changing. They're still racist as ever. Although i do believe that all the German players are better then this guy (never seen him play, so only an assumption), but still, Germans haven't changed. Speaking from first hand experience.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK

      First hand experience? I don't believe a word you say!
      That's just ridiculous..

      November 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daedelus

    As a German I find it hard to believe that those guys main reason has been racial discrimination. Surely it is very different as an African American in the US, but the German society is changing drastically. With about 25% of the population having a migration background, the German society is getting more diverse and therefore more interesting than ever before. Watching the German national soccer team should be another proof to that.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. D

    They have usually just been given a look-see by the german team with the us team they are more likely to get playing time. International playing time equates to $$$$ when contracts are signed in soccer.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |