And that's now happened to the Burnley star after playing football for a country he has NO link to.
The balls-up came when Tyrone - who thought he was of Jamaican blood - was asked to play by their old boss John Barnes.
It was the right-back's first international cap - but the Jamaican FA MISSED the fact Tyrone's long lost father was AFRICAN.
Now the 26-year-old must pay the ultimate penalty - not being able to fulfil his boyhood dream of playing for England.
FIFA rules state that a player who has participated in an official match for one international team, can't represent another.
Tyrone, born in Stockport to a British mum, told the News of the World: "It was an honest mistake on my part. I can't believe the Jamaican FA didn't check in the registration process!"
The Premier League player, rated as England's second-best right-back by Opta stats, was recovering from an injury at the start of the year while playing for French club Marseille.
He added: "I was desperate for games at the time. When Barnes asked me about Jamaica I thought I'd see if I qualified."
That's when Mears began digging into his father's past and was told he had Jamaican roots.
He added: "I gave the Jamaican FA my name, my father's name and that was it. I didn't have to submit my passport."
Mears played in the 0-0 draw against Nigeria in February, but a month later discovered he actually had NO Jamaican heritage.
He explained: "I was shocked when a private investigator later told me my dad was in fact from Sierra Leone."
Mears, who is appealing to FIFA to change his nationality to English, said: "I just want the chance to be considered for England along with everyone else."