FOOTBALL

USMNT head coach advised Efraín Álvarez to join the Mexican national team

The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder was included in the Mexican national team roster that will play two friendlies in the FIFA international break of March.

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USMNT head coach advised Efraín Álvarez to join the Mexican national team

Efraín Álvarez was included in the preliminary rosters of both the United States and Mexico for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament. The double call up led to the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder declining the invitation to participate in the tournament that is set to start in Guadalajara, Mexico on 18 March, because he was still undecided about his decision. He has dual citizenship meaning he has to choose between the countries.

On Tuesday however, the Mexican national team announced their roster for the FIFA international break of March and it surprised many to see Efraín Álvarez in the list. Mexico is scheduled to play against Wales in Cardiff stadium (27 March) and then Costa Rica (30 March) in the Stadion Wiener Neustadt.

Berhalter advised Álvarez to play for Mexico

The United States men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter admitted in a conference call that he encouraged the LA Galaxy midfielder to make his international debut with Mexico’s senior team. If Álvarez plays with Mexico in this friendlies, he can still change his mind and play for the United States in the near future.

"I have spoken to him about it and advocated for him to go with the Mexican team," Berhalter told reporters on Wednesday, "and the reason being is that he's been in our environment. I think the only way for him to make an informed decision was to go into their environment.

"We've always said that all we want to do is put the players in a position to make the best possible decision they can make and some players are going to choose for us and some players aren't going to choose us.

"But when you talk about the emotion of the decision, we want to take some of that emotion out of it by letting him have objective data of what the environments are like and get to compare them. We wish him all the best in this camp and you know I'm sure I'll follow up with him after the camp and now we're focused on our team for this trip."