It seems anymore there about one week a month that involves a FIFA break of some sorts where countries call upon their best (or at least we hope) to compete in friendlies or World Cup Qualifiers. Last year FC Dallas had to deal with call ups left and right and 2016 hasn’t been any different.
When Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman failed to get a call up to the United States national team this past week, our staff was bummed at first but then realized it may be a good thing. So here is the debate and question, do you want your players to pick club over country or always go country first? Our staff dives into that old debate today.
Jason Poon - Club Over Country (For Now)
I confessed to the BigD staff that I don’t bother watching USMNT friendlies anymore and I might turn in if it’s a match of significance because the soccer on the field is hardly soccer and is such a labored effort that I’d much rather spend my time elsewhere. It’s been half a decade since Jurgen took the reigns of the national team and they are still figuring out their identity, tactics and style. I can’t even recall how many times Wondo’s been part of the process or no longer part of the picture because that position keeps changing with every game.
How it relates to Dallas, specifically for USMNT, I’d prefer nobody to be called up as long as Klinsmann is in charge. Kellyn Acosta - LB. Matt Hedges - RB. Hedges, Acosta and Walker Zimmerman deserve their call-ups and it makes sense why they would accept invitations (if they ever came). They are professional athletes committed to their craft and trade, and getting a call-up is a higher honor and validation for their work. But, in my opinion, there is no need to waste your time and energies playing for the Yanks outside of picking up some miles, per diem, a chance to travel a bit and a paycheck. There is little to no soccer benefit for playing for the USMNT right now. Hard pass. Pareja > Klinsmann. FC Dallas > USMNT.
But what about other players who are part of their national teams like Carlos Gruezo with Ecuador or Tesho with Canada? For them, definitely go, especially when it’s a match of significance like a World Cup Qualifier. For friendlies? Toss up and kind of depends on whether they’re trying to work themselves into the program or not.
And of course, this whole thing could be squashed if MLS and FC Dallas just agreed to not play league games during the FIFA window like the majority of the world.
Drew Epperley - Depends on the window
When it is an October window, always go club over country. When we’re talking friendlies during the regular season, I tend to always say that I would rather have a healthy guy for his club than him traveling a bunch with the national team for a game that he may not appear in.
I think in a way we’ve been a little more fortunate this season with call ups as compared to 2015 when there were dozens of them due to the players that were on the roster. Its not that we have less talented players these days, it is more to do with fewer of them are fully ingrained in their national team set up.
I change my tune a bit when it comes to World Cup related games and qualifying though. Any time you can represent your country at that level, you gladly take seeing your players depart from the club. And that includes during a big important stretch like the playoffs. Its a gamble for sure but they’ve earned it.
Cody Gamond - Personally Club
A lot of people will say country, but personally my one love is FC Dallas and as such I tend to side that way. I am proud to see our guys on national teams, but annoyed at the possibility of injuries or, in Castillo's case, moves made for the express purpose of call-ups.
It is a sad reality that our team produces talent that will always leave due to a lack of money and prestige. FC Dallas is a fine place to be if you are 21 and starting your National team career, but at 24 it isn't acceptable anymore. That will be a thorn in Dallas side for decades to come.
Our National team isn't particularly exciting to watch, and is generally an incohesive mess. Klinnsman's soccer is not a fun brand and his decisions are often questionable. A combination of all these factors leads me to being a club over country guy.