(AFP) – Sep 18, 2008
BERLIN (AFP) — A string of good performances on his first Bundesliga season and three goals in four games has brought Borussia Dortmund teenager Neven Subotic to the attention of Germany coach Joachim Loew.
The 19-year-old defender made a dramatic league debut in August when he scored Dortmund's third and all-important goal against Bayer Leverkusen to seal a 3-2 win on the first weekend of the new season.
He then scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over Energie Cottbus at the end of August and netted again last weekend as Dortmund came from 3-0 down at home to earn a 3-3 draw with bitter rivals Schalke 04.
The teenager makes his UEFA Cup debut against Udinese Calcio on Thursday.
"It is an absolute dream for me," said Subotic, who has already tasted international football - but with the United States.
The teenager has walked a long and unusual path to the Bundesliga.
He joined Dortmund on a five-year contract in June this year from second division Mainz for 3.5 million euros (five million US dollars).
Born in the Bosnia and Herzegovinan city of Banja Luka in 1988, Subotic was just five when his parents fled to Schwarzenburg in Germany's Black Forest to escape the civil war in their homeland.
When their residency permit expired in 1999 they moved to the United States, first to Utah then South Carolina before settling in Florida.
Subotic's talent was spotted playing football in a park and he progressed to play for the University of South Florida from 2004 until 2006, before going to Germany and Mainz.
Subotic has played for both the United States Under-17 and Under-20 sides, but has applied for German citizenship and FIFA will rule on his eligibility for die Mannschaft should he qualifiy.
Under FIFA rules, Subotic can currently only play for the US, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Croatia, his country of ethnicity, but the German Football Federation (DFB) - and Loew - are keeping an eye on him.
"We assume he can play for us, because it has not played an A-international for the United States," DFB media director Harald Stenger told the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
But Subotic says he is just concentrating on playing well for Dortmund, even if Loew's attentions are flattering.
"I read the coach of the national team has expressed a positive interest in me, but I don't have much to say on the subject," the teenager told German agency SID.
"I am not even sure myself where I stand in terms of eligibility."
And as the boyfriend of Germany's Under-20 world pole vault champion Lisa Ryzih, Subotic knows what goes up must come down.
"I know that everyone who shoots up fast, must also come down with a hard bang," he said.
"I am only 19 years old and no exception to that rule."
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