It’s a story we’ve heard time and time again as American soccer followers. A player is eligible to play for the United States and another country, and is being swayed by both sides. The story is the same currently for Jonathan Gonzalez, a 18-year-old midfielder who is making a name for himself at Monterrey this season.
A recent report from ESPN Deportes indicates that Gonzalez’s intentions have always been to represent the U.S. at the international level. That makes complete sense. He’s played for the U-20 team under Tab Ramos and was born California. The report also says that Mexico are still pushing to lure the youngster away from the Stars and Stripes.
It’s highly probable that Gonzalez’s name will appear on the next USMNT roster, set to be revealed on Monday, to play a friendly away to Portugal later this month. That’s a good development and a promising sign that the player will be with the USA for the rest of his career. However, there’s one issue. Without an official FIFA competition to compete in until the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the U.S. cannot cap-tie him.
You can expect to see many stories like that pop up between now and then. Whenever a journalist needs some retweets or an outlet needs extra hits, we’ll see more stories about Mexico trying to pry him away. The point is, it’s all fodder until the U.S. can officially cap-tie him. So, don’t believe any of the nonsense about a tug o’ war for his services until either the USSF, FMF of the player himself make an announcement.
He will most likely suit up for the U.S. in several meaningless friendlies coming up soon. That doesn’t mean a whole lot (Hello, Tesho Akindele!). We’re going to have to wait at least a year and a half to get official closure on this. And this, of course, assumes he’s still proving worthy of either team’s attention by the time 2019 rolls around.