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Why has Alejandro Zendejas chosen the USMNT over the Mexican national team?

Club América winger Zendejas has played for both nations at different levels but has picked sides before the 2026 World Cup.

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The Alejandro Zendejas will-he-or-won’t-he saga seems to be over. The Club América winger has made his decision about which national team he will represent in the future and has chosen the USMNT over Mexico, despite new Tri coach Diego Cocca’s efforts to meet with him to persuade him he’d look better in green.

Why Zendejas has opted for the US over Mexico

According to Mexican media outlet Récord, the Club América winger has opted to stick with the Stars and Stripes because of the support that he has been shown by US Soccer since the beginning of his career, while relatives and friends living in the States also played a crucial role in his decision.

It appears, then, that the possibility of Zendejas ever playing for Mexico in the future is over and Cocca, who picked his first squad on Thursday, will have to focus on other options as he leads El Tri towards what will be a historic 2026 World Cup (partly) played on Mexican soil.

Récord also revealed that Zendejas had wanted to play for Mexico before the Qatar 2022 World Cup but that El Tri’s indecision about whether or not they would select him had led him to declaring for the USMNT in time for the 2026 tournament.

Mexico to USA and back again

The attacker was born in Juárez before moving to El Paso in Texas as a child. He started his professional career with FC Dallas in MLS but made just 10 first-team appearances before signing for Chivas in 2016. Zendejas has been in Mexico ever since, passing through Necaxa before ending up at América in 2021.

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Club América winger Alejandro Zendejas has played in Liga MX since 2016. José MéndezEFE

The winger played a huge number of games - including the Under-17 World Cup - with the USMNT youth teams but also featured in a handful of matches for the different Mexican national teams, including two friendlies for the full team in 2021-22. FIFA found, however, that Zendejas had featured in those games without informing them of his switch away from US Soccer, who he was still ‘legally’ registered with. Mexico were fined and the player’s most recent international appearance saw him make his USMNT full-team debut in a friendly defeat to Serbia.