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The Wallaces of Costa Rica

D.C. United rookie Rodney Wallace is taking a neutral approach to tonight's USA-Costa Rica qualifier.

"I'm just hoping it's a good game," the left-side midfielder/defender told the Insider a few days ago. "Not to say I don't care who wins, but I know it's important for both teams. I'll definitely be watching."

Wallace was born in Costa Rica and moved to America at age 9 when his mother was assigned a job at the Organization of American States in Washington. He attended Bullis, a prep school in Potomac, Md., and starred for two seasons at the University of Maryland before signing with MLS and being drafted by United in the first round this year. By birth, he is eligible to represent Costa Rica. He is in the United States on a green card and not a citizen, which means he can't officially play for any U.S. national teams. The naturalization process will take a few more years, he said, and he has just begun to weigh his international playing options.

Wallace's Costa Rican memories on the continuation of this thread.....

Wallace lived in the San Jose area and often attended Costa Rican league matches. His cousin, right back Harold Wallace, is a Ticos veteran who starred at Alajuela for most of his career and was on two World Cup squads. This season, Harold helped Liberia win its first championship. When Rodney was young, he supported Alajuela and visited Central Valley nemesis Saprissa on occasion.

"My Dad brought me," he said. "It's a hectic atmosphere and sometimes overwhelming. It's a little dangerous, especially if you're for the visiting team. If you are wearing the wrong colors [Saprissa is purple, Alajuela black and red] in the wrong section, it would be trouble. We wouldn't go into the sections where the real crazy fans are."

A left-sided player in an adoptive country that could use depth at that position, Wallace would seem to be a prime candidate for the American program in the future. He's only 20 years old and just a dozen games into his pro career, but what do you think of his long-term prospects with U.S. national teams?

By Steve Goff  |  June 3, 2009; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Costa Rica , D.C. United , U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Costa Rica Kickaround
Next: Matchnight: USA-Costa Rica

Comments

I think he would be a great addition to the national team in the future. He has a great future infront of him.

Posted by: RM27 | June 3, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think the US fans would welcome Wallace w/ open arms!

Posted by: arswift24 | June 3, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I would love to have Wallace as a US National Member.

Posted by: no_recess | June 3, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

also...methinks he should find a honey to get hitched to to speed up process!

Posted by: arswift24 | June 3, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

If Wallace, Adu, Beckerman and Onyewu were in an 11 together there would be 4 players from the same youth club. Wonder if that's happened before.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 3, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If he were interested in US citizenship and playing for the USSF, he could be a useful addition. This is particularly true in view of some of the appallingly mediocre players we've seen play that position for the US in the last three world cup cycles.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | June 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If you are wearing the wrong colors... in the wrong section, it would be trouble. We wouldn't go into the sections where the real crazy fans are."

Sounds like a typical Philadelphia Eagles/Phillies/Flyers game.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 3, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: "If Wallace, Adu, Beckerman and Onyewu were in an 11 together there would be 4 players from the same youth club. Wonder if that's happened before."

Harkes and Ramos played for the same club. Harkes and Meola played for the same high school. Ramos and Reyna played for the same high school (not at the same time).

Posted by: DWE4 | June 3, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

He's got great potential and is athletically gifted . .. like a bigger, stronger Beasley, but he needs to focus on some one on one moves (stepover!!) and learn to service balls accurately ....

He should get a call up sooner rather than later . .

Posted by: delantero | June 3, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think he needs to make a pot of progress -- and probably move to a European side, before the national team powers take him seriously.

In the meantime, perhaps we can look forward to a CCL clash of the Wallaces next year with Liberia taking on DC United....

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the picture of what the article looked like in the print edition. As a graphic designer, I have to say the print edition kills the online edition. That page is really beautiful, which I'm sure has proper typography and all that. There's drama and greater importance to the entire story with how it's laid out in print. The online version looks kind of meh. The picture chosen doesn't really give you the feeling of 'the monster's cave'.

I really wish the web was advanced enough to make pages like the print edition work on screen, without going the pdf route. This is why I'll never buy a kindle.

Posted by: bspence11 | June 3, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@joedoc1

Not even close. Have you ever been to a domestic league match abroad? In the US, all you have to worry about is beer being thrown on you and maybe a black eye. In other countries, you have to worry about a lit flare being thrown directly at you and potential death.

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | June 3, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Rats, that post above is naturally for the post Steve made earlier.

Posted by: bspence11 | June 3, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

That would be "a lot of progress"...

As delantero notes, his one-on-one skllls aren't. Wastes his speed because he can't take defenders when he has the ball -- and thus he's forced to cross. Unfortunately, his crosses are usually blocked.

His defensive game will have to make major strides, too. An example: He got praised on TV for a header he took away from Ralston(?) -- in fact, Wallace was behind the play...beaten...and he only got his head on it because the cross tailed behind the Revs player.

His speed is something you can't teach or learn. He has the potential to be a good two-way player. He has a lot of growth, before he's ready to step up to national team duty. But -- like Freddy Adu -- he's only 20. Lots of time to grow as a player.

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

While I think Wallace is a promising player, let's not forget that all but 45 minutes of his professional career have been as a midfielder. Even his one cameo as a defender was in a back three, not a back four.

If Wallace was a citizen tomorrow, I think he'd be on Bradley's radar but probably wouldn't make either the Confederations Cup or Gold Cup squads. We're 2 or 3 years away from seeing him able to make the jump up for the US.

Our problem is that Costa Rica might consider him ready sooner than we would. Segares is entrenched (as he would be for us), but what about depth? Wallace could be as good or better than what the ticos already have available. If I was in their shoes, and Wallace was even close to the candidates to be the back up for Segares, I'd call him ASAP just to ensure he'll remain an option in the short and mid-term, while also being a long-term potential starter.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 3, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

We are all soccer-buff Washingtonians here, we know Bullis is a great prep school in Potomac, MD, with one of the finest soccer traditions in the nation...I hope Wallace chooses the US. Bradley should try to do whatever he can to get this guy a cap. He has a good left foot, which seems to be quite rare these days.

Posted by: alan19 | June 3, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if the Ticos started wooing Rodney early.

And totally OT, but looks like ManU has a new shirt sponsor:

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=652383&sec=england&cc=5901

Posted by: Juan-John | June 3, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but, is there a viewing party somewhere tonight?

Posted by: CityBlues | June 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Juan-John | June 3, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Time will tell. If he plays for us then great. If he plays for the Ticos then fine.

I'm happy that he is with DC United.

Let's give him a whole season before we start trying to expect too much as far as the international selection goes. I'm not saying let's not think about it. I'm just saying that he won't be an option until the citizenship part gets locked up.

As supporters we can just let him know that if he wants to rock our jersey then we welcome him. The rest depends on who the NT coach is and ICE and stuff that we can't control.

Maybe we can host a "Bachelor" type show for him. But all the potential canidates would have to be US Citizens, otherwise it would defeat the purpose, ya know...

I'm not talking a "Dating Game" type show. I'm talking a full fledge Darva Conger-deer in the headlights-not Flava of Love or Rock of Love type joke. I am talking real commitment here (at least until our Terpy-Tico can get his Naturalization Certificate--whatever happens after that--hey, the most promising of marriages fail sometimes. Just Look at Dennis Rodman and Carman Elektra...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 3, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

situations like these make me feel awkward, as a fan, i'd love for him to play for the usa, but its entirely up to him, and its what country belongs in his heart, i was born in india, and if i could play professionally, i'd play for the usa, b/c in my heart, im american, i hope in time, media and fans give the players their due respect in these situations, we don't need a guisseppe rossi type reaction or lead up either

Posted by: DCSharksFC | June 3, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse


To call this talk premature is a radical understatement. Let's not mess this kid's head up like we did with Freddy. Wallace is a great pickup for DCU.

He needs much more experience against MUCH better competition. He needs to assert himself physically, which he has shown no inclination to do as of yet. He needs to see passes much more quickly. He needs to keep his focus on the field from whistle to whistle.

Apart from that, the well-worn refrain: "What Chest Said"!

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | June 3, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: psps23 | June 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | June 3, 2009 12:35 PM
==========================
Just using it as an opportunity to bash my ol' hometown, JMS.

But your point hits home, and it's one reason I sleep fine at night knowing soccer won't insipre the same "passions" in the U.S. anytime soon. If flares in my eyeballs and shivs in my ribs are the price to pay to make soccer as popular in the U.S. as it is in most other countries, well, that's a price I'm unwilling to pay.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Meant to add... re: Wallace, let's give him some more time to develop. It wasn't all that long ago that "Marc Burch" and "US National Team" were being used in the same sentence on this here blog.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 3, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bradley should try to do whatever he can to get this guy a cap.

Posted by: alan19 | June 3, 2009 12:48 PM

+1

Posted by: Pedalada | June 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Uhmm I'm pretty sure from reading what Kenton has said to two different news in Costa Rica that he will get the call to join them for the Gold Cup.

Posted by: silentbat | June 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Edu's facing knee surgery? Funny how the injury was first described as a thigh bruise.

USA players should stay the hell away from Rangers. Maybe Scotland. I hope it's just coincidence that the two African-Americans who play in Scotland keep facing serious injuries or ugly challenges.

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Sucks about Edu. Man, those initials on training jerseys, etc. look so stupid. Mo has a big "ME" on the front of his jersey. Some fonts look like they were ironed on circa 1977...maybe at the Underground store at Landmark.

Posted by: EssEff | June 3, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

http://www.rangers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,5~1678187,00.html

Mo Edu to have surgery.

Posted by: psps23

-------

My mistake, I read the article kinda fast, and mistook "knee injury" for "knee surgery."

I guess I was just expecting the worst. Turns out there's nothing here that we didn't already know (though obviously there still could be surgery.

Posted by: psps23 | June 3, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@EssEff -- Would his jersey be better if it it read "EmmEee"?

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

After watching every match he's played for DC United, I'm of the opinion that this guy is DEFINITELY a possibility for USMNT left back of the future. Come on, INS - move that paperwork along!

Posted by: jsm91 | June 3, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@psps -- unless it's diagnosed as a sprain, it means knee surgery.... But, you're correct to note that we don't know yet....

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

and shivs in my ribs are the price to pay

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 3, 2009 1:34 PM

Is there something you and 270 want to tell the rest of us?

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 3, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, joedoc, I'm from Philly, too. I think the distinction is that Wallace is talking about getting beaten up by the opposition fans, not by other Eagles/Phillies/Flyers fans.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 3, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

""i was born in india, and if i could play professionally, i'd play for the usa,""

That and, well, India doesn't really play soccer.

""But India is not even one of the leading teams in Asia, ranked a lowly 28th behind relative minnows such as the Maldives, a tiny chain of islands off its southern coast with a population of just 318,000. ""

Posted by: delantero | June 3, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

mo edu had surgery today. maybe goff will have more.

Posted by: sdgterp | June 3, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Since we veered a bit off on a tangent:

Look- Philly fans earned their reputation. Eagles and Flyers fans...C'mon, now. Phillies fans not as bad. Afterall the magistrate, the holding tank at the Vet and reportedly there is one at the Linc, right (I have only been there for WWC games and nobody was trying to beat me up, so I could be wrong about the Linc).

When my 4 year old was told that Eagles fans threw ice hard snowballs at Santa, she couldn't believe it. "Whyyyyy would they do that, Papi?!?! Don't they know that he is going to bring them gifts and toys? That he has a list of who's naughty and nice? That he is checking it twice?!?!"

All I could do was respond that they didn't care and that not ALL Philly fans are mean...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 3, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

We are all soccer-buff Washingtonians here, we know Bullis is a great prep school in Potomac, MD, with one of the finest soccer traditions in the nation...

Posted by: alan19 | June 3, 2009 12:48 PM

--------------------

Not to mention the one-time school of Henry Rollins.

Posted by: edgeonyou | June 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

From a previous thread (sorry to bring this over, just didn't want to leave you hanging):

Chest_Rockwell, re: Best 11 talents,

I shouldn't have generalized the philosophy so much. To be true, the discretion for deciding the top "talent" is muddled because there are so many factors that lead into it. While one player may be a superior physical talent (Wynne) another may just be a superior technical talent (Adu). And of course, certain positions weigh different talents on a different scale, so while certain defenders may not be as technically talented (like Gooch), their physical and mental talents factor in more heavily. In the end, weighing their weaknesses and strengths, it may turn out that two completely different players are pretty much the same in "talent" level.

However, the goal should still remain to put the best 11 talents on the field first and foremost, with the gameplan determining the last few spots where talents are considered even. The US has reached a point where their upper echelon players need not be selected based on a gameplan. In my opinion, the following players fall into that distinction (assuming peak fitness):

Howard, Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Gooch, Boca, Beasley, Altidore, Cherundolo (with Edu closing in on that group as well)

All of those players are good enough to adapt their game to whatever gameplan Bradley sees fit better than any other option at Bradley's disposal. Is Altidore better than Ching with his back to goal? No. But he's good enough that his far superior ability to attack on the counter, run at defenders, and finish in the box outweighs the difference Ching has in that specific area. Even if Ching is better with his back to goal, the entire game will not be played with him in that position (even if it's a major part of the gameplan).

After those guys, you have a group of players, IMO, that are all relatively even in talent level, just differing in certain areas (again, assuming peak fitness):

Torres, Feilhaber, Adu, Ching, Mastro, Spector, Wynne, and Davies

Generally speaking, the last one or two slots should be selected from this group, based on the gameplan, injuries, etc. I think over time, Edu, Adu, and Spector could jump to the first group and tighten up the rotation of starting players.

And that's the goal, IMO. To get yourself a core of 11, 12, or 13 guys with whom you develop an unmatched chemistry. Guys that you can put out regardless of the opponent, regardless of the gameplan, and have them adapt to the situation. The US is getting close to being able to achieve that. And Altidore is on that level, IMO.

Posted by: psps23 | June 3, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the US Squad of the future would suffer if Rodney Wallace was a Tico.

He's been a great addition to DCU, but that doesn't mean he walks into the US team. With some development, I could see him grabbing a US Cap in the same way that Namoff and Gros did. Both 1 cappers who are / were valuable DC players.

No need to shun him, but no reason to hire the immigration lawyers either...

Posted by: JkR- | June 3, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Respectfully disagree JkR. Left sided player who would be one of the best athletes in the pool (if they can get him in). At worst he's a marvell wynne type on the left...has to sharpen up his technical skills and defensive positioning, but you can never have too much talent/athleticism at left back.

then again...as the user ID indicates...i'm probably a little biased

Posted by: sdgterp | June 3, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@Delantero: India plays soccer. They just don't acheive as well as they should given the size of their population. Hey, don't dis India or the I-League, Bro.

As a Puerto Rico supporter, I take exception to that.

India and PR will rise one day. I have hope. And we will all feast on Chicken Masala and gandules for everyone. We will wash it down with Mango Lassi and Rum drinks. Bollwood Soundtracks and Salsa.

Don't worry. You'll still be invited, striker. :D

Posted by: yankiboy | June 3, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

OT: thoughts on the Becks interview (part 1)?
http://web.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jsp?ymd=20090603&content_id=5120056&vkey=news_mls&fext=.jsp

Something about the smirks when talking about the Galaxy and MLS seem to me to be the key indicator here. And I don’t think he has a clue who the manager is, since he never mentions him by name, only saying “the manager”.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 3, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

then again...as the user ID indicates...i'm probably a little biased

Posted by: sdgterp | June 3, 2009 2:31 PM |

Fair enough, but I think there will be other one legged athletes on the scene to run the left flank.

IMO, he would add depth to regional competitions and friendly's, but hasn't shown any more than that potential. Yet.

Posted by: JkR- | June 3, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

sdgterp is never biased...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 3, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

did Rodney Wallace say clearly that he is seeking US citizenship? From your writing, it wasn't clear to me whether he is or not.

I think Wallace would be a good addition to the pool of players who could conceivably play left back for the USMNT. But without citizenship it's academic.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 3, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A) I still feel it ok to disparage the soccer reputation of a country as large as India's but ranked behind the Maldives. But if the party you describe awaits us when they "achieve", I'm all for it but can we do without the Bollywood soundtracks?. . .

"And we will all feast on Chicken Masala and gandules for everyone. We will wash it down with Mango Lassi and Rum drinks. Bollwood Soundtracks and Salsa."

Posted by: delantero | June 3, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Reading the title of this thread and the others about the Costa Rican mountains made me think of this Wallace.

Ticos go bragh!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 3, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@Delantero: The violin-sitar-tablas combo rocks. Don't sleep on it, kid. Oh, well. Bring your own tunes...It's your perogative...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 3, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Beckham said he regularly has been sending text messages to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena"

-----------------------------------------------

If Becks doesn't know "the manager's name", he must have Arena's number on his phone listed somehow...

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

violin-sitar-tablas combo rocks . . .got no problem with the sitar, etc, just don't make me do some funky group dance.

Posted by: delantero | June 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

mo edu had surgery today. maybe goff will have more.

Posted by: sdgterp | June 3, 2009 2:19 PM |

Where are you getting this information? I don't see anything on the 'net more current than Monday's piece on Edu seeking second opinion....

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

fischy: I wasn't commenting on the MLS article, but rather the video interview with Becks.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 3, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

When did Gooch go to Bullis?

He was a year behind me at Sherwood before going to Bradenton and then Clemson.

Posted by: alecw81 | June 3, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Where are you getting this information? I don't see anything on the 'net more current than Monday's piece on Edu seeking second opinion....

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

My guess: Facebook.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 3, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@alecw81 -- If you're referring to OWNTF's comment above, he didn't say Bullis. All of them plated for the Potomac Cougars.

Posted by: fischy | June 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Wallace beats Beasley's average, between scoring like mad for PSV, crossing in goals early in Bradleys term, and all the other times he has been completely useless and injured.

Wallace isn't anything too flashy, but he has better skill than most have intimated, I've seen him do little tricky things to get past his man, not European level but solid. He would be a better choice than the crippled Beasley, faster than Torres and with more balance than Adu. Wouldn't look too shabby, in my opinion.

But, he'll probably go Costa Rica, and we'll deal with him then.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 3, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

On the Mo Edu/ME thing, uhhh, it worked wonders for Ricky Bobby.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 3, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Super. I'm gathering that this would pretty much crush the idea of DC funds for any stadium . .

""City officials are considering issuing about $750 million in bonds to build a hotel at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a move that would help the city compete with the new resort and convention center at National Harbor in Prince George's County but would break the city's cap on borrowing. ""

Posted by: delantero | June 3, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

yeah, give the guy a couple of years to develop and see how he holds up. Remember when everyone was singing M.Burch's praises two years ago and some even anointed him the future of left back for the USMNT? Wallace has potential for sure but we need to see him become consistent in MLS over a few seasons (like Deuce did).

Posted by: Samuraise | June 3, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Wallace doesn't need to get married to move the process along. All marrying an Amcit does is get you a green card, which he already has. he needs to decide he wants to be a US citizen and then apply for naturalization.

Posted by: troy6 | June 4, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

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