Are those without a U.S. connection U.S. citizens? What sports can teach us about citizenship

Sooner or later the debate about U.S. “place of birth taxation”, will focus on the meaning of citizenship and connection to the country of citizenship. What’s needed to get the discussion going? Sometimes, the most unlikely events (although they are obvious after the fact) become the catalyst.

It turns out that the U.S. World Cup Soccer team has (are you ready for this):

A number of “dual citizen” players. Now, we need that “dual citizens” are good enough to pay taxes. The question is whether they are good enough to represent the USA in soccer.

Excerpts from the second article include:

Though three of the seven dual national players were courted before Klinsmann took over the program, there has been a subtle, and not so subtle, undercurrent about the Germanification of the American team throughout his tenure.

When Klinsmann cut Donovan, the face of American soccer, and added 19-year-old Green, a promising unknown with 31 minutes of U.S. game experience, the critics took aim on social media and soccer message boards.

The crossfire, and the code words, sounded like a debate between Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. Should a player with little connection to the country take the spot of someone who came up through the American system and helped the team qualify for Brazil? Will a player raised elsewhere fight for the flag and care as much as someone raised in red, white and blue?

“I understand the point; I don’t agree with the point,” Gulati said. “What would one do? Say to the coach, you can only pick players who have been here for 25 years and have certain roots? Well, I’d be talking to a coach who has roots somewhere else if I made that sort of statement.

“My very strong comment about it is that four of the five [German-American] players we’re talking about here are American citizens by nature of having an American serviceman father. If Bruce Arena or anyone else wants to tell me they have less of a right to play for the United States, we strongly disagree.”

Interesting, some believe that “citizenship” requires a connection to the country that goes beyond the circumstances of birth. What a novel idea!