Jesse Gonzalez switches international allegiance from Mexico to U.S.
Jesse Gonzalez has committed his international future to the United States after FIFA approved a one-time switch for the FC Dallas goalkeeper, U.S. Soccer confirmed on Thursday.
Gonzalez was born in Edenton, North Carolina, but qualified for Mexico citizenship through his parents. He played for Mexico at both the under-20 and under-23 levels, but never for the senior team, and now will only be allowed to play for the U.S.
FIFA rules allow dual nationals to make a one-time switch from the nation that they played for at youth level to another nation in which they have citizenship, provided that: "He has not played a match (either in full or in part) in an Official Competition at 'A' international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an Official Competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play."
Gonzalez was named to the preliminary U.S. squad for this summer's Gold Cup but left off the final squad, which was announced while the paperwork was still being completed.
The 22-year-old could still join the team ahead of the knockout stage if coach Bruce Arena prefers, though a source recently told ESPN FC that Gonzalez had expressed uncertainty about leaving FC Dallas at the moment, as international duty could jeopardize his spot as the MLS team's starting goalkeeper.
"You know, exciting news for me," Gonzalez told FC Dallas. "I think the decision was made between me and my family and the coaching staff and I think they did a great job of helping me out and guiding me the right way."
The source also said that Mexico national team manager Juan Carlos Osorio had recently spoken to Gonzalez about his future, and that he had hoped to call up Gonzalez in the future.
The tug of war between Mexico and the U.S. over Gonzalez's future has been going on for some time now. Gonzalez was set to participate in the U.S. team's January camp in 2016, but then had a change of heart, and joined Mexico's U23 camp instead.
Gonzalez said he gave his decision much thought.
"I'm grateful to both of the countries, I think they've given me the opportunity and I think its something I had to respect from both national teams," he said. "I think it hasn't been easy for me, honestly, I think its a difficult choice.
"Soccer is about moments and as of right now, I think its great. I'm excited, hopefully I get a call up soon."
ESPN FC writer Tom Marshall contributed to this story.
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