USMNT

Gabriel Slonina: Chicago Fire goalkeeper commits international future to USMNT

Chris Smith
Slonina is one of the most talented teenage goalkeepers around.
Slonina is one of the most talented teenage goalkeepers around. / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Gabriel Slonina has committed his international future to the United States over Poland.

The teenage sensation is yet to appear for either senior national team but has featured for the United States heavily at youth level and has been called into several camps by Gregg Berhalter.

But Slonina, who plays for Chicago Fire, has been considering which country to represent and earlier this week, was offered a call-up by Poland for their upcoming UEFA Nations League ties with Belgium, Wales, and the Netherlands.

Slonina finally announced his decision on Thursday, stating that although he's proud of his Polish roots, his 'heart is American'.

"It's the dream of all athletes to be able to represent your country at the highest international level," Slonina wrote in a social media post. "The ability and privilege to do so is earned through hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

"I have always identified myself as a first-generation Polish American who is very proud of my roots and heritage. My parents, as many others immigrated to the USA to look for better opportunities, and the chance to find success in a new country.

"I've known for a while now the unique privilege I have being a dual-national. Although, I never thought much about it because I just love everything about my roots and heritage, that's just me! But, I know that in sports you have to make a decision for who you want to compete for on the international stage.

"Being Polish means being extremely hardworking, having faith, never taking no for an answer, pushing through hard times, and taking care of your family. I love everything about my heritage, from the people to the food, to the cities. I am also extremely grateful for being given the possibility to play for Poland.

"With that being said, my heart is American. This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for. It's pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I'll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that's who I'm going to represent.

"Thank you everyone for all the support and understanding."

Slonina will now look to push on in MLS in the hopes of securing a spot on the USMNT roster for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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