Aron Jóhannsson, who opted to represent the US over Ic eland, has been selected in manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s preliminary squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
The 23-year-old forward, who was born in the US to Icelandic parents and returned to their homeland when he was three, currently plays for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie. Having represented Iceland at youth level all the way through to the under-21s, he finally decided he wanted to represent the US at full international level – most likely because it gave him a better chance of playing in a World Cup.
Johannsson was called into the Iceland squad in 2012 after catching attention while playing for AGF Aarhus in the Danish Superliga. He had been tipped to make his debut in one of the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Switzerland, but had to pull out because of a groin injury.
In May the following year, Klinsmann revealed that he was aware the forward had been born in the US and was keeping a “close eye” on him. Despite Iceland manager Lars Lagerback’s best efforts, Johannsson revealed on Facebook last July that he had decided to make himself eligible to represent the US and wished Iceland every success in the future.
Johannsson made his debut for his adopted team in August last year during a 4-3 friendly victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. As the US went on to qualify for the World Cup, Iceland fell at the European qualifying zone’s playoffs, suffering a 2-0 aggregate defeat to Croatia.