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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Chivas USA's Michael Lahoud weighs Sierra Leone option after being overlooked for U.S. training camp

By Steve Goff

Should Chivas USA's Michael Lahoud have been among the 24 young players invited to the upcoming U.S. national team training camp?

Maybe, maybe not. But his omission might prompt him to consider playing for another country: Sierra Leone.

"I was born in Sierra Leone and it brings me great pride, but in terms of my soccer career, playing for the U.S. would be a humongous dream come true," Lahoud, who is a U.S. citizen, told the Insider on Tuesday night. "If it comes down to that, it would be a hard decision. I'm an optimistic person, but at some point, I might have to think about" playing for Sierra Leone.

Lahoud, 24, was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. At age 3, his family escaped civil unrest and settled in the Washington area. He honed his skills with the acclaimed Braddock Road Youth Club and Reston FC, as well as with W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va., where he was The Washington Post's All-Met player of the year in spring 2005. His next stop was ACC titan Wake Forest for 89 appearances in four years and, in his junior season, an NCAA championship.

In 2009, Chivas USA selected him with the ninth overall pick in the MLS draft and, by late in his rookie season, he had moved into the starting lineup. This year, Lahoud started 20 league matches as a holding midfielder and two-way central midfielder.

For more.....

"Michael has proven himself at every opportunity but has never received one tryout or camp invite at any [USSF] level," said his advisor, Peter Smith. "Now guys with less experience and less physical tools -- especially pace, a needed quality for the national team -- are being invited to a camp for young players. Michael's dream is to put on a U.S. jersey, but at some point, you might have to go where you are wanted. He has that option."

According to Smith and Lahoud, a Sierra Leone contact who had discovered Lahoud's roots reached out to the player this year about representing his homeland. With his sights set on a U.S. team opportunity someday, he "made nothing of it until now," Smith said. With Bob Bradley emphasizing the selection of young players for the January camp, Lahoud hoped that he would receive an invitation.

"It's a little disappointing," he said. "I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep trying to prove myself, keep working. For me, the U.S. would be the ultimate opportunity."

A USSF spokesman said the federation would not comment on the matter.

Sierra Leone has never qualified for the World Cup and last appeared in the African Cup of Nations in 1996. Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara, who came to the United States as a teenager, has played for the national team. Most of the players are based in Africa or the lower tiers of European soccer. A notable exception is Rodney Strasser, a 20-year-old midfielder who made his AC Milan debut in a UEFA Champions League match at Auxerre last month.

By Steve Goff  | December 21, 2010; 11:00 PM ET
Categories:  MLS, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  U.S. national team  
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Next: Happy holidays from the Soccer Insider

Comments

Love to see him get a chance with our NT. Probably shouldn't toss that out unless Sierra Leone qualifies for a CAN, because that's an awful long way to go from LA for some meaningless matches that no one watches.

Posted by: troy6 | December 21, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Having looked at the talent we have at the moment, particularly the promising prospects at the u-20 level, I can comfortably say "Have a nice flight."

I mean, Sierra Leone. If your ambitions are so low, go for it. But don't act like speed is what our national team truly lacks. That's just stupid.

But you know, we Do need central and defensive midfielders. (I'm sorry, his advisor's threats are just that ridiculous).

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | December 21, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we really need pace or "physical tools," thanks Peter Smith. I can say I have not been impressed by Michael Lahoud as a USMNT player. He lacks the ability to really put any stamp on the game or control the flow of possession. He looks like a body pout there to tackle, that's it. Don't get me wrong, he is a good MLS player but not a top quality talent. I hope he takes the challenge and fights for a US chance.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 22, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that I was a little disappointed in Lahoud's production this year. I picked him for my fantasy team at the start, thinking I had a real bargain. Fact is he didn't develop as much this year as a lot had hoped. He's still young anf haas time. Also, Chivas had lots of problems last season, which probably didn't help Lahoud. He should definitely not give up on his USA dream. Maybe it's a signal that he needs to do more than he's been doing in terms of preparation. Maybe, instead of focusing on a national team camp, he should be seeking overseas training opportunities. That did wonders for Ryan Miller....

Posted by: fischy | December 22, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Look for Lahoud to enter the DCU orbit at some time. Peter "Smash" Smith and Kasper are fast friends.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 22, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure you can whine your way into camp.

Irregardless (!) of his pace and skills, I think his 'advisor' is over-egging the pudding a bit....

Posted by: JkR- | December 22, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Look for Lahoud to enter the DCU orbit at some time. Peter "Smash" Smith and Kasper are fast friends.

Posted by: lgm6986
--------------------------------

lgm, you might try making just one post sometime without b!tching about Dave Kasper. Just for the holidays. #itsgettingold

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | December 22, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Advisor? Great. Now everyone with national team ambitions will designate someone as an advisor to lobby the media.

Given that Michael Lahoud is a local boy and is speaking to Steve, I'm sure he's reading this.

Michael: I hope you learn that having someone criticize the MNT coach's training camp selections on your behalf is not the way to get a call up.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 22, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I think lgm is right on this one. I doubt this is LaHoud, I suspect his "advisor" (sounds like an AAU basketball term) is the one talking to Steve, but only Julian Assange knows for sure.

In any event, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

On the other hand, Tobin Heath is back in camp. There's some damn good news. Hope Solo too, but she's not cleared to really play yet.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 22, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

BTW, wasn't this supposed to be "down time" for Steve? Irregardless of the eggnog in the pear-shaped pudding, this Insider Loyalist is appreciative.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 22, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Soccer America reports that Davies will not be in the 18 for Sochaux today.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 22, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

On the other hand, Tobin Heath is back in camp. There's some damn good news. Hope Solo too, but she's not cleared to really play yet.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 22, 2010 9:19 AM
__________________________________________

Soccer America notes that Solo is a free agent, in case there is anyone left in the Freedom front office who would notice. (Another blog has mentioned rumors that Scurry will be in said front office next year.) SA also reports that Sauerbrunn haseen called up. (I will refrain from mentioning ex-Freedom players who have been called up.)

Posted by: universityandpark | December 22, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Make that "has been."

Posted by: universityandpark | December 22, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Make that "has been."

Posted by: universityandpark | December 22, 2010 9:45 AM

++++++++++++++++++

Sorry, are you talking to me?

-Jeff Cunningham

Posted by: JkR- | December 22, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Did I just see a twitter tag on this blog? I actually enjoy Igm's comments. Yes he is a bit angry and correlates all of Goff's post as a rant against Kasper in, dare I say, Glenn Beck esque style but I am cool with it. Maybe I was a little harsh last night on Lahoud, he should keep working for his dream, I just don't think he is good enough now.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 22, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If we can get Boyzz back, then we'd have...

Boyzz n LaHoud.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 22, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Boyzz back in town?

Friday night they'll be dressed to kill
Down at Dino's bar and grill
The drink will flow and the blood will spill

Posted by: OWNTF | December 22, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I have fond recollections of Mike Lahoud from his days as an ODP player -- as I recall he made it to the regional team a couple of times but not beyond. Nice young man and nice mom -- met his dad, an airline security official as I recall, a couple of times too when he came to ODP events to see Mike play.

That said, I don't know that Mike has a strong gripe about not being selected for US camp, and it is hard to believe that his threat to play for Sierra Leone will produce much response from the US. The US responds to the "threat" that top players who are on the cusp might choose to play for Mexico, a real rival, but

1) Is Mike even on the cusp?

2) I don't imagine Bob Bradley (or anyone else) will be terribly concerns about the prospect that Mike will take long flights to Africa to play for a team that has few prospects of making it even to the African championship not to speak of to the World Cup.

So Mike is stuck with his situation, and I have to wonder what he thinks he has to gain by going public with his discontent.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | December 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

He's not even the best dmid or 2-way midfielder on his own (pitiful) Chivas USA team. Both Gavin and Zemanski are better than him. He's OK, but not USMNT quality unfortunately.

Posted by: napoleon2blake | December 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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