One of the enduring mysteries around the US Men’s National Team over recent years has been the occasional absence of Darlington Nagbe. The midfielder seems like an ideal fit for just about any style of play a coach could want, he gets the ball, he keeps the ball, he’s a great passer, and is very confident with the ball at his feet. Shooting and scoring... not so much. Still, he has only featured once for the team since being a regular call-up until 2017. Much speculation has emerged in light of this with fans asking: are coaches dumb? Is Nagbe bad actually? Maybe he’s just not into the new kit?
Well, there appears to be an answer. According to Paul Tenorio of the Athletic, Nagbe has been called into the team several times recently, but turned down the opportunity to play for the USMNT. The reporter notes that Nagbe was even offered a chance to replace Duane Holmes in the Gold Cup, but elected to stay with his club. Additionally, the midfielder was to be included on the roster for matches in September, but turned that down as well.
The report mentions that Nagbe is focused on the season with Atlanta United and being with his family. Players constantly have to weigh on and off field priorities and it appears that for now Nagbe has put the USMNT lower on that list than his other commitments.