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USA files petition to FIFA for Johannsson's one-time switch

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Americans Abroad Rewind: Johannsson shines for new manager
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Americans Abroad Rewind: Johannsson shines for new manager

U.S. Soccer confirmed Tuesday that it has filed a petition for a one-time allegiance switch to FIFA on behalf of AZ Alkamaar and Icelandic-American forward Aron Johannsson.

The Alabama-born Johannsson announced Monday that he wants to represent the USA, but in order to do so he must be cleared by FIFA since he has represented Iceland in non-binding competition on the youth level. Even though U.S. Soccer could not provide a timeline on when the process will be completed, it announced that he will be invited into camp ahead of the Aug. 14 friendly against Bosnia & Herzegovina to at the very least train with the national team.

He cannot play for either Iceland or the USA while his petition is being considered, according to U.S. Soccer. That won't be welcome news for Iceland, which issued a statement on its official federation website Tuesday pleading Johannsson to reconsider his international choice ahead of an August match against the Faroe Islands.

“We are excited that Aron has chosen to pursue his international career with the United States. We have been in contact with him for the last several months,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement provided by U.S. Soccer. “He is a great young talent with a bright future, and we look forward to introducing him to our team as soon as possible.

The 22-year-old Johannsson is set to inherit Jozy Altidore's role as lead striker at AZ Alkmaar after Altidore's departure to Sunderland. Johannsson was acquired by AZ last winter and scored three goals in five league appearances. He also found the back of the net in AZ's Dutch Supercup loss to Ajax on Saturday.

If Johannsson's petition is accepted by FIFA -- which is a matter of him meeting the necessary requirements and not a subjective panel -- then he will join the likes of Teal Bunbury (Canada), Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones (Germany) and Edgar Castillo (Mexico) as members of the USA player pool to have completed the switch process.

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