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Chivas' 'Mexicans only' rule set to be tested by USA U-20 Luis Martir

Luis Martir has been called into U.S. U-20 camp. He also plays for Chivas. That may be a problem.

Kent Horner

Update: Luis Martir has been replaced on the U-20 roster. The reason is unclear, but Chivas won't have to make a decision ... yet.

Chivas de Guadalajara has long prided itself on being "Mexico's club." Every player who has played for them has been Mexican and the dual nationals have never played for another country, opting for Mexico or not to play internationally at all. That means no United States players, be it at the senior or youth levels, can play at one of Mexico's biggest clubs.

Luis Martir may change that, though.

The 19-year-old defender is from Los Angeles and was a part of the U.S. U-17 residency program, but later joined Chivas and played for the Mexico U-20 team, which he is eligible for through his parents. However, he has now been named to the U.S. U-20 roster for their upcoming training camp.

So is Martir going to play for the U.S. or Mexico? That question is unlikely to be answered anytime soon, at least not long-term, but it does bring up another question. Would Martir rather play for the U.S. or Chivas?

According to Chivas' regulations, Martir cannot even train with the U.S. U-20's, much less play in a match, as long as he is a part of the Goats. Doing so would, theoretically, get him booted from the club.

Chivas' Mexicans only policy has been under fire for years and it has turned up even more of late. Some have questioned whether Chivas can compete for titles if they refuse to sign so many good players simply because they are not Mexican, while others have questioned whether the policy is racist and ignorant in a globalized world.

Regardless of the reasoning, Chivas may eliminate, or at least alter, their policy soon. The next step would be to allow anyone with Mexican heritage to play for the club, regardless of what national team they play for. That appears the most likely alteration, especially as long as the proud, volatile and downright insane Jorge Vergara owns the club, and it is one that may be coming soon.

If Martir does join up with the U.S., Chivas will have to decide whether to alter their policy or cut the defender loose. They surely don't want to just let one of their best academy defenders just walk free, but if they are insistent on their Mexicans only policy, they will have to do just that.

In the meantime, getting Martir to pick the U.S. would be a coup for the Americans. Either they will have nabbed a well-regarded young defender who presumably really wants to play for the U.S. if he is willing to give up his club, or Chivas is changing their policy and Americans have another excellent option in Liga MX to play for.

This isn't the first time Americans have run into trouble at Chivas, but it may be their last. Or more of the same.