Sounders Insider

UW: Sked out; George John gets Greek call

A couple of soccer items today related to the University of Washington.

First, the UW men's soccer team has released its schedule.

Second, this news regarding former Husky George John -- who was in town Wednesday with FC Dallas

In a press conference in Athens today, Greek national team coach Fernando Santos named a 20-man squad for a UEFA EURO 2012qualification match against Malta on June 4, 2011 at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus and a friendly match against Ecuador on June 7, 2011 at CitiField in New York, and announced that FC Dallas’ uncapped Greek-American central defender George John, 24, 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.

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 SofoklisPilavios, 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 EPOand U.S. Soccer.

In December 2010, John was invited to the U.S. national team’s training camp in preparation for a friendly match against Chile on January 22, 2011, but at that time John was still recovering from minor off-season surgery to remove bone spurs in his ankle and as a result he was unable to attend camp.

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 Greece in an official competition (e.g., in UEFA EURO2012 qualifying), he would be permanently cap-tied to Greece.

Article 18, paragraph 1 of the August 2010 version of the FIFA Statutes states:

If a Player has more than one nationality,or if a Player acquires a new nationality, or if a Player is eligible to play for several representative teams due to nationality, he may, only once, request to change the Association for which he is eligible to play international matches to the Association of another country of which he holds nationality,subject to the following conditions:

(a) He has not played a match (either infull or in part) in an official competition at "A" international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play.

(b) He is not permitted to play for his new Association in any competition in which he has already played for his previous Association.

Following the matches against Malta and Ecuador, Greece’s next match is a friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 10, 2011. Greece then resumes UEFA EURO 2012qualifying with a match against Israel on September 2, 2011 and a match against Latvia on September 6, 2011.

Greece currently leads UEFAEURO 2012 qualification Group F with 10 points, one point clear of Croatia.

In all five Group Fmatches, Santos has used 22-year-old Sokratis Papastathopoulos (A.C. Milan) and26-year-old Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiacos F.C.) in central defense. Santos’s quad has also included central defenders Loukas Vyntra (Panathinaikos F.C.)and Vangelis Moras (Bologna F.C.). In August 2010, Sotirios Kyrgiakos (Liverpool F.C.)—arguably Greece’s most prominent central defender—retired from international play.

Greece is ranked 12th in the world in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

Greece’s most notable achievement is winning UEFA EURO 2004 in Portugal.

John is currently in his third season in Major League Soccer. FC Dallas selected John in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. In 2010, John helped FC Dallas reach the MLS Cup for the first time in club history.