Efrain Alvarez is the latest dual-national to be at the center of a Mexico – USMNT battle, and the LA Galaxy teenager is struggling to deal with the decision he has to make.
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Alvarez, 18, is seen by many as the best young midfield talent in North America and he has played for Mexico’s youth teams, as well as being involved in a USMNT camp in recent months.
He was included on the initial roster of both the USMNT U23 and Mexico teams for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, but did not play for either.
The LA Galaxy product, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, is representing the full Mexico national team during the current international break but is yet to make a decision over which country to represent long-term.
Crescencio Alvarez, the father of Efrain, had the following to say about the current mindset of his son.
“These are very tough decisions because the federations are traumatizing him because they’re calling him in at the same time,” Crescencio Alvarez told TUDN. “Wherever he decides to play, we’re going to support him. I don’t want my son to blame me for picking [one of the two national teams], he’s an adult now.”
Alvarez the latest dual national chased by USMNT
After the success of recruiting dual nationals Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah to the full national team, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has a host of other dual nationals he can now focus on adding to his player pool.
Alvarez, Santiago Munoz and Folarin Balogun are three of the players right at the top of that list, with the first two players playing for the Mexican youth teams and Balogun (like Musah) an England youth international.
There are lots more dual nationals battles ahead and it is a very delicate balance to both impress the player you want to join your national team, but not overwhelm him.
Musah revealed that Italy, Ghana and England all wanted him as well as the USMNT and the pressure of it all was a lot to deal with. Dest has also said he followed his heart with the decision and needed time and there is no right or wrong way for Alvarez to deal with that. He probably just needs a bit more time, and he’s only 18.
But with World Cup qualifying starting in September, a decision on his what would be a one-time switch with FIFA from Mexico to the USA could be fast approaching.