Andy Najar is one of America's youngest professional athletes. The 17-year-old breakout star for D.C. United is the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year, and his prodigious early talents have stoked hope for the future of both U.S. soccer fans and those in his native Honduras, both of which have fan bases which hope he'll eventually play for their respective national teams.
Yet, at the moment Najar is more interested in doing what had earned trouble for many of his professional colleagues: testing his fan base on Twitter. On Monday, the high schooler asked his Twitter followers whether he should play his international soccer for Honduras or the U.S.A., leaving the impression that he would follow the advise of his Twitter fan base.
What followed was an explosion of responses to Najar's original tweet. According to MatchFitUSA.com (with an assist to the inimitable Brooks Peck over at Dirty Tackle) American responses alone included offers to name first-born sons after him, impassioned pleas aimed at his hopes for American citizenship, rational arguments that he's more likely to reach a World Cup with the U.S. and more exclamation points than required by any 400-page book.
While fans may have taken the opportunity to persuade a young star about his soccer future a bit too seriously, Najar himself used the social media barrage as a way to lighten up an increasingly heated debate over which country he should represent.
Eventually, Najar reported back to the Twitterati at large that:
"It's a tie! 1,700,000 votes for usa and 1,700,000 for honduras!!!"
Clearly, as MatchFitUSA argued, the teenager isn't taking the debate over his future too seriously, even though journalists, particularly in his native Honduras, certainly are.
Regardless of what he decides, there's little question that he's likely to discuss the decision on Twitter, just as the debate over Jay Cutler's NFC Championship game injury and Carmelo Anthony's trade-rumor responses have consistently spilled into the social media sphere.
It's all just a part of being a budding superstar in the 21st century, in Najar's case, one who has the expectations of two countries being rapidly piled on his young shoulders.