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SOCCER

Alejandro Zendejas leaves door open for Mexico call-up

The Club América winger will make his debut with the United States men’s national team on Wednesday, but it seems that he is not fully committed.

Update:
The Club América winger will make his debut with the United States men’s national team on Wednesday, but it seems that he is not fully committed.
RODRIGO ARANGUAAFP

There is a tug-of-war between the United States and Mexico for Club América ace Alejandro Zendejas. Both national teams want the 24-year-old to make a commitment sooner rather than later with the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup approaching in mid-year.

Zendejas already played two friendlies with Mexico in 2021, but FIFA sanctioned the federation because he remains under the jurisdiction of the USMNT. The Mexican federation was fined $10,900 and ordered to forfeit both fixtures against Guatemala and Ecuador for using the Club América winger.

On top of that, Mexico was also ordered to forfeit the three under-23 games that Alejandro Zendejas played in 2017. The 24-year-old started his international career with the United States under-17 squad that participated at the 2015 CONCACAF Championship, playing alongside Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams.

So even though Zendejas had rejected future US national team call ups when he joined Liga MX side Chivas, a team that only selects Mexicans, he was still under the jurisdiction of US Soccer. Now that the FIFA investigation is over, the USMNT decided to call him up for January’s camp and Zendejas accepted the invitation.

“A while ago Gregg [Berhalter] started that process and started that conversation with Alejandro. I think it was just about timing and this opportunity came up. When we put the list together we put names on there and he was one of them,” said interim coach Anthony Hudson. “I have to be honest and I didn’t think we had a chance to get him because he is in season right now.

“So when we made the call to the club [América] they were amazing and really supportive of him coming in. Again I was shocked and then we spoke to Alejandro and he was so excited to come in. What a nice guy he is and we are lucky to have him,” added Hudson during Tuesday’s press conference.

Zendejas first cap with the USMNT

Alejandro Zendejas will earn his first senior cap with the United States men’s national team on Wednesday night against Serbia at the BMO stadium. Following the match, the 24-year-old will return to Mexico to train with Club América and prepare for the game against Mazatlan on 24 January at Estadio Azteca.

When asked about his commitment to the United States at Tuesday’s press conference following his third day of practice since arriving at camp on Sunday, Zendejas gave a very limited response. “I am thankful that Club América let me join camp. Everyone welcomed me since I arrived and I am just enjoying the moment, taking advantage of the opportunity and happy to be with other players that I’ve known for several years,” said Zendejas.

Like I said earlier, I am enjoying the moment, I have my mind focused on tomorrow’s game, so that’s all I’m focusing on right now,” he concluded. Meaning that he could be leaving the door open to a possible call up to Mexico once their federation announces the new manager and eventually talks to him about his role in El Tri in this new World Cup cycle.

Also the fact that the United States is looking to appoint a new manager, doesn’t make things easier for Zendejas to make a choice about his international career. He will await for both federations to appoint a new manager respectively and then talk to each one of them before making a decision.

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