The Chicago Fire’s Patrick Nyarko does not hesitate when asked: The Ghanaian winger would be proud to wear the colors of the US national team if given the opportunity.
“Right now, absolutely no question about it that I would consider that,” he told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “I’m at the peak of my career, I just turned 26, and if I sit down and say I’m waiting on Ghana to call me, I might wait till my career is over. I would definitely be interested [in the US].”
One of the most underrated players in MLS, Nyarko found himself a pool of candidates considered by former Ghana manager Milovan Rajevac. But the attacker never played for the Black Stars and he hasn’t heard from the new coaching staff that is currently directing the squad in the Africa Cup of Nations.
With one year under his belt as a US permanent resident, he believes that citizenship shouldn’t be an obstacle if the US coaching staff wanted him in Red, White and Blue.
“I’ve gotten the hint that if it comes to sports, [citizenship] can definitely be expedited,” he said. “They can help it go faster than it normally does.”
What USMNT fan wouldn’t want Nyarko on the team? While Brad Davis, David Beckham and Dwayne De Rosario get all the publicity for their playmaking efforts for their respective clubs, Nyarko tops them all in one key category: chances created in the run of play.
Nyarko’s 54 chances created during the run of play in 2011 were one better than Davis and three better than DeRo for tops in the league. Not to mention that he ended up with nine assists last year and he doesn’t even take set pieces for the Fire.
“This year, I’m looking forward to getting more goals and getting assists and, hopefully, people will recognize that,” Nyarko said. “But I’m more interested in helping my team win going into every game.”
Nyarko, who is heading into the final year of his MLS contract in 2012, has already been forewarned by manager Frank Klopas that he likely will be used everywhere across the attacking front – including at forward – and all in the same match if necessary. He played 30 minutes against D.C. United in a preseason match on Sunday in Florida.
A five-year veteran, Nyarko is ready to take on any role Klopas wants. Whatever it takes to help Chicago avoid the poor start they had last year when they missed the MLS Cup Playoffs by three points.
“Overall, the impression going into this season is that of confidence,” Nyarko said. “Coming from the tail end of the season last year when we showed what we can do, we hope to carry the confidence to the start of this year and make a better start than we did last year when we had to play catch-up. We’re excited.”