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Former U.S. youth international Jonathan Gonzalez named Liga MX rookie of the year

ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman doesn't understand comments that Jonathan Gonzalez fell through the cracks in U.S. Soccer after he made numerous appearances for the youth national team.
ESPN FC's Herculez Gomez gives his take on where the U.S. fell short with Jonathan Gonzalez, leading him to choose to play for Mexico.

Former United States youth international Jonathan Gonzalez was named rookie of the year at Liga MX's "Balon de Oro" awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The 19-year-old central midfielder debuted for Monterrey last July and enjoyed a breakout 2017 Apertura, after which the California native switched allegiances from the United States to Mexico.

"I'm very happy for this recognition," Gonzalez said. "I'd like to thank my club, Antonio Mohamed's coaching staff, and, of course, my family."

Toluca veteran Rubens Sambueza was named the player of the year and the best attacking midfielder; Necaxa's Marcelo Barovero, now at Monterrey, won the best goalkeeper award, Tigres' Hugo Ayala was the best defender and Leon's Mauro Boselli was the top goal-scorer of the year.

Elsewhere, it was a sweep for 2018 Clausura champion Santos Laguna, with Jose Juan "Gallito" Vazquez winning best defensive midfielder, Djaniny Tavares -- who signed for Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia last week -- named best striker and Roberto Siboldi named the coach of the year.

The winners were decided by votes from the Mexican footballers' association, head coaches, the editorial board of the league magazine and fans on social media.

The 2018 Apertura tournament begins on July 20.

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