Despite leaving in the United States of America since the age of five, New England Revolution forward Diego Fagundez can no longer play for the USA.
[ RELATED: The lowdown on Fagundez ]
The 19-year-old, who was born in Uruguay but moved to the Boston area with his family, appeared for Uruguay’s U-20 side in the South American U-20 tournament early this month. His competitive debut for La Celeste cap-tied him to his country of birth despite having played for the U.S. national team at various youth levels.
Speaking to the Associated Press about his decision to pick Uruguay over the USA, Fagundez gave the following reasons as his wait for a U.S. passport and obtaining the necessary paperwork dragged on too long.
“The moment came when they told me I couldn’t continue because I wasn’t a citizen or a resident,” said Fagundez. “A lot of years passed – so many years – and the situation didn’t change. I was tired of waiting for the United States.”
Fagundez said he had no hard feeling against American soccer officials.
“Right now, I don’t want to play with the United States,” he said. “I’m very happy with Uruguay and I think we can go far.”
Fagundez went on to state how he and his family enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in the U.S. but that he’s fully focused on representing Uruguay at the highest level possible.
So, as Jurgen Klinsmann continues to scour the globe for the top youth players who are eligible to play for the USA (see: Julian Green and Gedion Zelalem) will Fagundez prove to be one that “slipped through the net” in the coming years? Perhaps.
After scoring five goals and five assists in 32 appearances for the Revs last season, Fagundez is a star in the making as he’s already made 96 appearances and scored 22 goals for New England before reaching the age of 20. Uruguay have high hopes for the kid who grew up in Boston loving hockey, and there’s already talk of him making the full senior team from Uruguay’s U-20 national team coach.