With dual-citizenship players on the rise, the tension-fueled recruitment battle between the United States and Mexico strengthens. 

In the past couple of years, international football has seen the likes of David Ochoa, Julian Araujo and Ricardo Pepi make headlines when committing to either side. Two of the three opted to represent El Tri, cementing Mexico’s long held edge with dual-citizenship figures.

While Gregg Berhalter attempts to understand each decision and encourage one made “with their hearts,” the USMNT head coach wants to change the course.

“The thing is, I always say, I want them to choose with their heart. I want them to feel good about it. And could you imagine growing up with parents and having a really strong cultural background and then being able to play for the country of that background? I think that’s special,” he explained.

“Even though the United States has given them that opportunity, there’s still this deep connection to their country, and some of them have to leave their country and want to go back, but they can’t. And so for me, if a guy really chooses that, I’m happy. I’m happy for him because that’s what he feels in his heart.”

By admin