It has been a good year so far for Matt Miazga. The US U-20 Men's National Team has noticed. The New York Red Bulls have noticed. And Papa Red Bull has been noticing Miazga for some time. Another soccer entity with an eye on the 19-year-old center back? Poland's national team.
Miazga is New Jersey born and bred, but his parents are Polish and his family retains close ties to its homeland. In a recent interview with Przeglad Sportowy, the RBNY academy product noted he has missed out on regular family trips to Poland in recent years because of his mounting commitments to his chosen profession.
The interview also revealed Miazga speaks Polish often at home, is self-conscious about his fluency in his second-language ("wrongly" states reporter Marcin Doboscz, who notes his interviewee's command of Polish is "very good"), and feels strongly connected to both the country of his birth and that of his parents:
I feel American, and Polish. I was born here, but my parents are Polish, we care about Polish traditions and at home we speak Polish.
No surprise, therefore, that when asked how he would respond if Poland were to summon him to its national team, Miazga indicated it would be a call he'd have to consider seriously, despite being clearly considered a top youth prospect for USMNT:
That would be a difficult choice
Still, the player also noted that he'd had no contact with Poland's national team representatives since November, when there was talk of him getting called into the U-20 team for appearances in the Four Nations Tournament (which Poland won this year).
That interview was last week: April 28. This week - May 5 - Przeglad Sportowy has issued a fresh report stating Poland's senior national team coach, Adam Nawalka, is looking hard at Miazga for a call-up, perhaps as soon as June.
The team currently tops its Euro 2016 qualifying group, but preparations for the June 13 home match with Georgia have been affected by a spate of injuries and suspensions to key defenders. As such, Nawalka could use some back-line depth. The report also concedes that throwing a 19-year-old, however talented, into a Euro 2016 qualifier for his senior international debut might not be the best plan. It is suggested any near-term senior call-up for Miazga would therefore more likely target Poland's friendly with Greece on June 16 for his first cap.
Miazga is eligible (per FIFA's criteria) to play for Poland: he has Polish nationality (inherited from his parents) and has never played a senior competitive international for the US. He could file for the "one-time switch", if so desired.
But there are two obstacles to that scenario, at least for the immediate future. First, as pointed out in Przeglad Sportowy's report, Miazga has been a regular and important part of the US U-20 team which will be heading to the U-20 World Cup shortly. He is expected to get a call-up to that tournament, and he has already turned down repeated Polish youth national team call-ups in favor of playing for the US U-20s. No one thinks Miazga won't go to the tournament if selected by U-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
The U-20 World Cup is in New Zealand. It runs from May 30 to June 20. Realistically, if Miazga were to answer a senior team call-up for Poland's matches on June 13 and June 16, he'd need to be leaving New Zealand after the group stage, which concludes (for the US) on June 5. The knockout rounds start on June 11.
But the US is expected to get out of its group in New Zealand, so it is perhaps a stretch to suggest Miazga might achieve the rare feat of playing for two different international teams in one month.
The other reason the notion Miazga might be about to commit his international future to Poland is even more straightforward: no one has asked him to consider it.
Once A Metro's JasonRBNY caught up with the defender at RBNY's team event at the Adidas Store in SoHo, and asked him directly about the reports out of Poland. Miazga responded relatively definitively:
I've been aware of the rumors, but right now I don't know anything about them: they're rumors. I'm focused on Red Bull and the US.
So there it is: Poland may be stalking one of the top prospects in the Red Bull and US national team systems, but it doesn't amount to much more than gossip at the moment.