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USA or Mexico, Future over Pride

Many have always seen the USA national team and the Mexican national team as the biggest rivals in the CONCACAF. And now the battle is not only on the field but when it comes to being a dual nationality player, many don’t understand that this is one of the hardest decisions on the planet for players and even coaches.

Recently, Efrain Alvarez, Professional soccer player of Los Angeles, LA Galaxy, had to choose between his parents' country and where he was born. He was invited by the senior Mexican national team for the upcoming friendlies in Austria along with other teammates.

“ I spoke to Alvarez and advised him to go to the Mexican national team camp/March friendlies so he could weigh the comparisons between Mexico and #USMNT as he works toward a final national team decision.” Greg Berhalter said, Via twitter

Why did he choose the Mexican national team over the USA’s? Could it have been the coaching staff, the teammates, the family pride, there’s many reasons, he could have just thought about his future and what was going to benefit him in the long run.

Many fans have said, “ he did it for the raza” ( the race ) and others assume “ it’ll be tough for him to get any minutes in either national selection because of his young age.

Even though the USMNT is doing quite well right now he could have thought maybe they won’t be so great by the time the 2022 and 2026 World Cup comes around. And with his parents implementing their family roots, he definitely isn’t the first and won’t be the last to be in this sticky situation.

Like Joe Corona, who chose the USMNT over Mexico in the year 2011-2018, winning only two, CONCACAF Gold Cups but not getting an opportunity to play in a World Cup because they didn’t qualify, after that he was pretty much devalued as the team brought, what people like to call shame to the country in soccer. He continues to play in the Major Soccer League, for Houston Dynamo but has not been called up for the USMNT friendlies this 2021, could it be, he would have still been around if he HAD chosen otherwise?

Others with experience in these players shoes, like Former LA Galaxy player Michael Munoz , and now Head Coach of FC Toronto from Canada and of also dual nationality, chose to play in the USMNT up until he was 20 years old choosing the opposite, “ My dad is from Mexico, he’s a die heart Mexico supporter, but I grew up supporting the US, so we would always clash, I take off my players hat and coaching hat and become a fan, I support the USA and want them to win, it's a tough question, I would advise anyone to choose with their heart.” Via FaceTime.

Players of dual nationality have to not, not count out any of the national teams, both selections are strong, they have players playing in Europe, developing in the MLS and Liga MX as well, and even though the Mexican Liga has far more years than the MLS, the MLS has been closing that gap, and the future for the USA is looking bright with new young talent.

pic by Gilbert

Players often choose the winners, the team who is doing well and —Although this has been a controversial talking point for both the USA and Mexico senior selection, the topic was brought up in yesterday’s, U23 Men’s Olympic Qualifiers, for today's match in, Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. The USA is fighting Mexico for first place in the bracket meanwhile both teams confront one another to figure out who is superior, between these two rivals.?” Jimmy Lozano, Mexican national team Coach concluded with,

“Darn, that is a tough one, that is something we would have to ask the players in that position, because that’s a question I have asked a few players before, some see the Mexican colors as their own, it has a lot to do with the family traditions, and that is super important, socially and a family oriented, sometimes even the fact that they live over there (America) for many years, they feel Mexican and have the conviction to put on this jersey. And then there’s some that see themselves more American than Mexican and we have to respect that. It’s a battle that the federation is now having both Mexico and the USA keeping players, —it’s what they can get offered and the most important thing here is that each team is sincere to the player, to offer them exactly what they really will get and then the player will have the last word. I believe this will happen even more in the upcoming years.” in the pre-match press conference via Zoom

Leaving everyone —including the federation -- more unsettling for the upcoming years to come but hope for 2022 and 2026 World Cup.

Wendy Pintor

Instagram link: Wendy

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