Top Stories

Five Cuban Players Missing from Olympic Qualifying


Five members of the Cuban Under-23 national team have gone missing from the team hotel following the squad’s 1-1 tie against the United States on Tuesday night.

Five players, including standout goalkeeper Jose Manuel Miranda (pictured), left the team hotel in Tampa and haven’t been seen since Tuesday evening.

The disappearances have left Cuba with just 13 players for its next match, against Honduras on Thursday. CONCACAF could as Cuba to forfeit the tournament but Cuban head coach Raul Gonzalez has already stated that he has no intention of having his team forfeit.

I am calling it now, Jose Manuel Miranda will be the starting goalkeeper for Chivas USA in 2009. And that noise you hear? It is the stampede of MLS general managers rushing to the fax machine to get in their "discovery" claims on these players.

The possible defection shouldn’t come as a complete shock but I will admit to having thought that there would be less interest in defecting considering how tough a time the Cuban players who defected during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup had trying to find professional deals. The funny thing is that it just so happens that one of the Gold Cup  defectors, Lestor More, just signed with the Charleston Battery last week.

What do you think of this development? Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is bush league. Don’t get me wrong I am happy for those that left the Cuba team to find a better life here in the US. But I think the US national team gets screwed here. While i agree they should have played better and won the game I don’t think it is right for the rest of the team to get a possible “very easy” three points. Because lets face it with 7 players leaving, I believe most if not all were starters, they will be playing a completely other team.

  2. Wow two more left? any word on what happens to Cuba now? they will only have 10 left for the next game and as it stands no substitutes for the next two games.

  3. Two more left tonight so now there is a total of 7 of them that left, They actually had an interview with one of the during the half time of the Canada Vs Mexico game.

  4. K. Bowen, how naive are you?

    The previous poster argued that the PEOPLE THEMSELVES don’t have a choice in changing things. As is clearly evident, they DESPERATELY want to live in a modern country, but they CANNOT, thus these players choose to defect once they get to the states.

    It pains me as a Cuban-American myself to see the lies continually perpetuated about the Cuban state. Fidel has somehow tricked many into thinking the USA and their embargo policy has been to blame, when in actuality, Fidel’s oppressive regime is at the root of all problems.

  5. “As someone with Cuban lineage myself, I find it all very sad. From the perspective of that every time Cuba travels to the US at least one of their players defect. So from a Cuban side of it, how can they grow their national team if every time there is a international tournament, players are bolting on them.”

    They could quit being a communist prison state. They could let more of their players play and make a living abroad, like a normal modern country.

  6. First of all, this is sad that these players have to leave their families and loved ones in order to have a career in soccer. There is no telling when they will see them or be with them again.

    Secondly, there are 13 players left. But ONE of them was RED carded. That will leave only 12 players available. This is assuming that the RED carded player did not defect.

  7. This could be problematic for the US. Now, unless they win their last two games, they probably don’t finish first–there’s no way Cuba takes points off anyone at this point.

  8. Nice! I love the people who try to say it’s not that bad in Cuba and that Fidel Castro is misunderstood. Is there another nation in the world that has players defect like this?

  9. @Posted by: Kim | March 12, 2008 at 02:43 PM

    comment of the day right there. 🙂 too funny.

    @Posted by: KingSnake | March 12, 2008 at 05:01 PM

    I pray you are being facetious. Mexican people have a democratic means by which to improve their country and can LEGALLY apply for citizenship/visas here if they so choose. Cubans are allowed to sit down and shut up and take whatever El Presidente says.

    The Cubans have no choice in their country’s future, the Mexicans choose not to exercise it. BIG difference.

    I’m not sure why everyone is super amped. Outside of the goalkeeper and the defender (can’t remember his name) there weren’t too many kids on that team who were super impressive. Though I guess most could make OK reserves.

    And people thought expansion would thin out the talent pool. Just sked more games with Cuba.

  10. One this doesnt look good for the US, if Cub forfits the rest of the games I dont think the US are going on. Maybe they dont deserve to go on any ways after a game like that.

    I think that everyone knew this was going to happen, the question always is how many. I will also bet taht atleast 3 of the players are picked up whether it is with the USL or MLS.


Leave a Comment