Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina rejected his call up to the Poland national team on Friday evening. In a statement issued on his social media channels, the 18-year-old instead announced his intention to make himself available for selection by the USA.
The six-foot-four stopper has impressed in the MLS this season, and was visited by national team coach Czesław Michniewicz during his whistle-stop North American tour recently. Slonina was one of five keepers to be invited to the Reprezentacja‘s training camp next week, ahead of the UEFA Nations League clashes against Wales, Belgium and Natherlands.
While Slonina expressed his love of his Polish heritage and his gratitude to Michniewicz and the PZPN for being given the opportunity to play for Poland, he stressed that his “heart is American”.
It’s understood that Polish officials had not been hopeful of Slonina declaring his loyalty to Poland; but with the association keen to avoid a similar situation to that of Matt Miazga – the American midfielder of Polish descent, who was completely ignored by then Polish coach Adam Nawałka – they were at least keen to do all within their power to tempt the youngster to wear the White Eagle on his chest.
Unfortunately, the PZPN fell short, and the Illinois-born teenager opted to await a senior-team call up for the nation he has represented seven times at youth level. He was, however, not selected in the Gregg Berhalter’s 27-man squad for friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay, as well as CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Grenada and El Salvador.