PORTLAND, OR - SEPTEMBER 16: Darlington Nagbe #6 of the Portland Timbers celebrates his goal with teammates against the New England Revolution on September 16, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Portland Timbers starlet Darlington Nagbe has received his United States green card, which puts him on the path to citizenship. Now that he has his green card, he must wait five years before he can apply for citizenship, but he is engaged to an American citizen, which would expedite the timeline to three years away from citizenship beginning on the day of his December wedding.
Nagbe was born in Liberia and he lived in France, Greece and Switzerland before moving to Ohio in 2001. A youth star, he played for Caleb Porter at Akron and won the Hermann Trophy before becoming the second overall pick in last year's MLS SuperDraft.
Many expected Nagbe to be the first overall pick in the SuperDraft, but even at number two, he entered the league with high expectations. Unfortunately, things have not exactly gone to plan for the 22-year-old. As the Timbers have struggled, so has Nagbe. He's played centrally and on the wing, sometimes flashing his skill and pace, but other times looking lost. And with his inconsistency, the excitement that he entered the league with has waned
Now the Timbers are remaking their team. Porter will be their manager next year and you can bet his relationship with Nagbe played a role in his selection. The Timbers have tried to play around Nagbe before and now they are going to build around him. It is his chance to get his career on track and match the hype he entered with so he can be of international quality like so many hoped he would be because right now he wouldn't be called up even if eligible.
Nagbe has confirmed that Liberia, the only country he is currently eligible to represent, has contacted him, but he has rebuffed their advances. Presumably, that would imply that he has an eye on the U.S., but that much hasn't even been confirmed yet. Right now, Nagbe is just a player who has a green card and is slated to be eligible for U.S. citizenship in December 2015.