When this bit of information landed in my inbox this morning I was a bit stunned. Greek national team coach Fernando Santos named a 20-man squad for a UEFA EURO 2012 qualification match against Malta on June 4, 2011 at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus and a friendly match against Ecuador on June 7, 2011 at Citi Field in New York, and announced that FC Dallas' uncapped Greek-American central defender George John (release in Greek), will join the squad in New York.
John will participate in training, but will not appear in the match against Ecuador.
Born and raised in Seattle, Wash., John is a second-generation Greek-American.
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John issued a statement through his agent, Ted Philipakos:
It is a tremendous honor to be invited to join the Greek national team. I would like to thank EPO (Hellenic Football Federation) president Sofoklis Pilavios, national team technical director Takis Fyssas and national team coach Fernando Santos for this opportunity. I am looking forward to meeting the team in New York. As a new player, I need to use that time to get to know the staff and the players.
John's statement also addressed his United States national team eligibility:
I am fully aware of FIFA statutes regarding international eligibility, and that I will remain eligible to represent the United States for at least the short term. If I receive an invitation from the U.S. national team, I will give it consideration at that time. It would not be appropriate for me to make any further comments about my international future. It is very important to me that I show respect to both EPO and U.S. Soccer.
John has been called up once by the US back in December of 2010 but he was unable to play due to bone spurs in his ankle. In the future, if John were to appear for Greece in any match not part of an official competition (e.g., a friendly match), he would be eligible to make a one-time switch to represent the United States. However, if John were to appear for either country in an official competition (e.g., in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying for Greece, World CUp qualifying in CONCACAF for the US), he would be permanently cap-tied to that country.
Its good to hear that John is getting looked at here for national team duties, even if it isn't the US right now. I'd hate to see him not be apart of the US team but you can't blame a guy for switching if he can in this situation.