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Diego Fagundez looks likely to play for Uruguay, pass on USMNT

The U.S. looks set to lose a man they never had.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like Diego Fagundez is going to play for Uruguay when given the chance, even if doing so kills any chance he had of playing for the United States. The New England Revolution midfielder is in Uruguay U-20 camp and on the team's 27-man preliminary roster for the South American Youth Championship, where if he plays, he will make himself ineligible for the U.S.

Fagundez has lived in the U.S. since he was five years old, was educated in the American system, came up through the American soccer system, was signed as a Revolution homegrown player and plays in MLS. He's as American as it gets, but he is not a citizen and because he didn't get his green card until 2013, he won't be eligible for citizenship until 2018.

That's a long wait, and one it's tough to ask him to make. That's especially true when he hasn't had a ton of communication from U.S. Soccer, so why not hop aboard Uruguay?

"Right now it's kind of hard to say," Fagundez said to ESPN FC of the U.S. national team program. "They haven't even approached me, and it looks like they're not interested in me. I can't keep waiting for them. I'll see where this takes me. That's why I'm going to Uruguay, I want to go there and represent the jersey and represent the country well."

Fagundez played in U.S. U-13 and U-14 camps, but then they found out he wasn't a citizen and he hasn't been a part since. Tabo Ramos, the U.S. U-20 coach, said that Fagundez would have been a part of his team if he was a citizen and that he hopes Fagundez will play for the U.S. one day, but that they have done everything they can to get him citizenship and so have the Revolution, to no avail.

Now 19 years old, Fagundez has a good chance of making Uruguay's tournament roster, which will be announced on January 1. Once that happens, all he has to do is play in a game for him to be tied to Uruguay forever. You can't blame Fagundez for taking the chance afforded to him, even if he has said he's like to play for the U.S. The wait is just too long and it doesn't look like the Americans are really fostering a close relationship and loyalty.

Fagundez not the same hot shot prospect he was a year ago after a rough season with New England, but he's still a super talented player who scored 13 goals as an 18-year-old and would be a great addition to the U.S. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like he'll ever pull on the U.S. shirt.