Lichaj focused on US, says no to Poland

Illinois native hopes to earn first cap against parents' nation

BRIDGEVIEW Ill. – Eric Lichaj could don the red, white, and blue for the first time this Saturday when the U.S. national team takes on Poland at Soldier Field.

But Lichaj, a Chicago area native who grew up going to games at the iconic lakefront stadium, could have just as easily been wearing Poland’s red and white on Saturday night.

The Polish FA recently reached out to the 21-year-old Aston Villa right back, emailing the club to see if he was willing to spurn the U.S. for his parents’ homeland.

“I heard from the Villa staff that the Polish FA was interested in me,” Lichaj said Wednesday. “I didn’t know if it was a call-up or what, they just said they were interested and I just said I would rather go with the U.S. It was that simple.”


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Lichaj, who trained with the U.S. ahead of last October’s qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica, has yet to appear for the senior national team.

“Hopefully I’ll get my first cap,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing at Soldier Field. Hopefully I’ll get out there.”

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley said he’s pleased with how Lichaj has been performing in training this week.

“So far he’s been good,” Bradley said. “He’s moving up the ladder a little bit [at Villa] and is someone that we are excited to bring into camp.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.