Report: Gonzalez opts to play for Mexico
According to the major news outlet Univision, Jonathan Gonzalez will leave the U.S. program and play for Mexico. Gonzalez once seemed as if he would be a consistent contributor to the U.S. program but Mexico started to chase him during his breakout 2017.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedAccording to Univision Deportes, Jonathan Gonzalez has accepted a call-up to play for the Mexican national team against Bosnia this month. In doing so, he will need to file a one-time switch, thus precluding him from every playing for the United States again.
January 08, 2018
January 08, 2018
Gonzalez, 18, was a rising star in Mexico in 2017 where he helped Monterrey finish in first place in the Liga MX regular season and advance to the final where it eventually lost to Tigres. Two weeks later, however, Gonzalez and Monterrey would win the Copa MX with a 1-0 victory over Pachuca. The California native was named to the Liga MX best XI for the 2017 Apertura
Gonzalez has been a long-time part of U.S. youth national teams dating back to the U-14 level. Last year he played up an age group and was part of the U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign where he made one appearance. In an interview with Soccer America, Gonzalez acknowledged that he was not called up to the full national team for a November friendly against Portugal.
Mexico has been aggressively after Gonzalez in recent months and last week visited Gonzalez at his home in California. If Univision’s report is correct, it likely sealed the deal in convincing Gonzalez to switch.
The United States has lost its share of dual nationals before. Obviously Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic come to mind but Gonzalez is different. Rossi was always clear that he never wanted to play for the United States. Subotic played for the U.S. U-17 team but was born in the former Yugoslavia and spent many formative years in Germany.
Gonzalez, however, was born and raised in the United States and spent far more time in the U.S. youth setup than other top tier American players who have left the program.
If the United States is to take any solace from this loss (again, if the report is true), it is that central midfield is a loaded position right now among young American players. Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, Keaton Parks, and others play the position.
Still, Gonzalez was one of the best American players at the club level in 2017 and his now likely loss could potentially turn out to be substantial.