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The Selfishness Of Jonathan De Guzman

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Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Selfishness can be both a good and bad quality to have.  Being selfish in your career is always taught and thought as a good characteristic to have.  It shows that you have the ambition, drive and desire to exceed at any chosen path you take.  All athletes possess some level of the attribute.  It’s the quality that makes you practice while others are not.  It’s the quality that makes you push yourself to achieve all the physical goals you set and it’s the quality that makes you take that big shot that gets you noticed.

In an individual sport selfishness gets you to the top.  In a team sport selfishness does help you get to the top but can earn you a tarnished reputation.  That selfishness is what has turned many fans against Jonathan De Guzman.

De Guzman is coming off one of his most successful matches of his career.  He scored twice for Swansea City as they beat Bradford City 5-0 in the Capital One Cup.  Scoring two goals at Wembley is no mean feat as I am sure he is now the first Canadian born player to accomplish that.

He is a regular for City in their most successful English Premier League top flight campaign ever.  He is a regular in the highlight packages as well and his play has made him a transfer target of some of the bigger clubs in England and Europe.  He has become one of the best attacking midfielders in England and has surpassed his own brother Julian De Guzman in his ability and skill.

That’s where the plaudits end.  His own selfishness has stopped his growth in the International game and will do so at club level as well.  He is a Canadian born player with a Filipino Father and Jamaican Mother.  He could play and start for all three nations but he chooses to wait for a senior cap with the Netherlands.  He gained his Dutch citizenship while playing for Feyenoord and has made himself available for a call up to the Oranje.  He has participated in youth matches and friendlies but as of yet he is not tied to any country.

He has the option to play for Canada with his brother and be a star .  He chooses not to and would not and still does not gives a proper answer to the Canadian Soccer Association.  He could do the same with Jamaica and the Philippines where he could be the face of soccer in the Nation but he chooses not to.  He chooses to wait for the one chance to play in the World Cup.  At 25, time is running out and with the way the Netherlands produces players the call may never come.  He continues to be vilified in the Canadian press where his brother has had to do the talking for him.

Nowhere more has his selfishness come to the forefront as it did at Wembley.  While his team was up 3-0, he won a penalty kick.  Instead of letting teammate Nathan Dyer take the shot and score his third goal he took the shot himself.  He denied someone on his own team a chance at a hat trick at Wembley.  Not many players have ever scored three goals at one of the most hallowed grounds for soccer in the world.  His team was up by three so did it matter if he scored?  The entire nation if not the world was watching but he let his own selfishness steal the show.  The scene sent around the world was one of De Guzman fighting with Dyer for the right to score.

Any professional let alone a youth amateur player knows that when someone has a chance at a hat trick you give it to him.  Adding to that fact he was playing in Cup final, at Wembley in front of a global audience and that should have made it an easy decision.  This one play, this one act of arrogance confirmed what many Canadian soccer supporters have always thought about De Guzman:  he isn’t worthy enough to put on our uniform.

I have always supported De Guzman’s decision to try to play in a World Cup.  I have always wondered if he would ever get that chance and if not when he would decide to forgo that chance and play with Canada.  Would I do the same?  Would I decide not to play for the county of my birth, or my parents birth or not side by side with my brother?  I understood his tough decision.  Now, after what happened over the weekend, not only do I understand his tough decision, I understand why he is doing what he is doing:  pure selfishness.

Shahab Khan is a Soccer and MLS Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto FC

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