Juan Pablo Ocegueda joins Chivas, will not play for the USA

Kent Horner

The U.S. lost a promising left back prospect to Chivas, which is as good as losing him to Mexico.

Juan Pablo Ocegueda has been a part of the United States youth program for years, most recently playing at the U-20 World Cup, but he will not accept any more U.S. call-ups. The Riverside, CA native has instead chosen to join Chivas de Guadalajara, which only allows Mexicans to play for their club.

The Goats have taken Ocegueda on loan with an option to buy and in the announcing their acquisition of the defender from Tigres, they made it very clear that the defender would no longer be part of the U.S. set-up. He is still eligible to play for Mexico, something he presumably will do if called up since he can no longer play for the Americans.

The best that the U.S. can hope for now is that he doesn't cap-tie himself to Mexico and changes clubs so he could once again join the American team. It's either that or pray his development slows, something that is hardly a rarity for 19-year-old's, and maybe he never proves himself to be good enough to play for the senior team of either country.

U-20 head coach Tab Ramos spoke highly of Ocegueda throughout the last cycle, praising his composure on the ball. Although the U.S. does have Fabian Johnson and, now, DaMarcus Beasley at left back, they have long struggled to find players at the position so losing out on Ocegueda will hurt.

The 19-year-old was a standout at with Tigres the youth level, but struggled to crack the first team. He was rumored to be going on loan to Chivas last season, but that didn't happen. There were rumblings that Tigres would send him to Chivas USA, where he could be able to play regularly and be under the watchful eye of Chivas without having to give up the option to play for the U.S., but that fell through too. Now he's a full-fledged member of Chivas -- where, coincidentally, the current left back is American-born and Mexican-capped Miguel Ponce -- and, barring a philosophical change at the club, any hopes of playing for the Americans are gone so long as he is with the Goats.

A year ago, Mexico tried to call Ocegueda up to their U-20 team, but the defender said declined, choosing to play for the U.S. Now, with his move to Chivas, he doesn't have that choice anymore, and the Americans don't have a promising left back.

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