Football - Republic of Ireland v Poland International Friendly - Croke Park - 19/11/08..Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni with assistant manager Marco Tardelli (L Photo via Newscom

Giovanni Trapattoni is on the hunt for undiscovered Ireland-eligible talent, and has turned his eye towards the United States. The Republic of Ireland manager told reporters last week during a media session that he has requested a list of all MLS players with Irish sounding names.

Now that your mind is sufficiently boggled, it's worth noting that Trapattoni's request makes sense on some level.  America is the melting pot after all, so surely there are one or two players here who might qualify to play for Ireland.  The idea that a list "Irish sounding names" could lead to a decent player or two is somewhat logical, though I'm not sure Trapattoni really understands just how pervasive Irish family names are in the United States.  Former Major League baseball player Troy O'Leary comes to mind.

The fun part of this news it trying to figure out who might be on Trapattoni's list.  Based simply on name, not accounting for international status or actual Republic of Ireland eligibility, a few off the top of my head:

Dax McCarty
Pat Phelan
Brian Carroll
Brek Shea
Devon McTavish
Brandon McDonald

Trapattoni's American bush-beating might also include a tour of the US next summer, a chance to scout I suppose, and he's put out the call for Irish in the US to be on the hunt for any Irish-American talent that might be worth a look.  In the world of international soccer, where national loyalties are often just a matter of eligibility, it's hare to blame Trapattoni for turning over the American rock.

Is there an Irish equivalent of the "Americans Abroad" thread at Big Soccer? Trapattoni should just go there.

This is similar to the program that Scotland has instituted as a means to increase their talent pool, though that effort isn't America-specific.  Stuart's brother Euan Holden, currently playing in Denmark, was identified as a possible Scotland player though that search.

Will Trapattoni find what he's looking for? Are there undiscovered (in MLS or elsewhere) Ireland-eligible players all over the United States?

Better yet, who am I missing from the Irish surname list?

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