Top Stories

MLS Ticker: Fagundez recieves green card; Detroit eying MLS expansion; and more

DiegoFagundezNewEnglandRevolution2-ColumbusCrew (USATodaySports)


Fresh off of scoring the game winner against the Columbus Crew, news has broken out that New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez has received his Green Card.

The acquisition of his his permanent residence card also means that he won’t count as a foreign player on the Revolution’s roster next season, opening up an international slot for the team to use.

The striker has represented Uruguay at the youth level but is not cap tied because he hasn’t played for the senior national team in a competitive match. He is still not eligible to play for the United States, and is still between three to five years away from securing the American citizenship that would allow him to represent the U.S. national team.

Fagundez, who has 13 goals and seven assists this season, was born in Uruguay before moving to the Boston area at the age of five. He signed a homegrown contract with the New England Revolution as their first ever homegrown player when he was just 15-years-old.

Here are some more stories from around MLS:


A failed prison site might be the perfect place for Detroit to develop the land for a soccer stadium which could lure an MLS team to the Motor City by 2016.

The Apostolopoulos family, which owns the Toronto-based Triple Properties Inc. is planing a “$1 billion-plus development that includes a 25,000-seat open-air soccer stadium, a 275,000-square-foot retail complex with high-end retailers and food courts, 1 million square feet of residential space including two towers, and 1.3 million square feet of office space and parking,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

Crain’s also states that the stadium would cost somewhere between $230-250 million while the rights to an MLS franchise usually falls in the ballpark of $40-70 million.

MLS Executive Vice President for Communications, Dan Courtemanche has mentioned that the league has held preliminary talks with the Apostolopoulos about the possibility of an expansion side featuring in Detroit, but mentioned that there are no current talks.

With that said, Courtemanche did tell Crain’s Detroit Business that MLS is interested in bringing a team to the metro area and that they’ve, “been certainly monitoring the market.”

There are other groups competing for the same land site, but the Apostolopouloses say that even if they don’t get the bid for the land, they will continue their pursuit to bring an MLS team to Michigan’s most populous city.


The New York Red Bulls impressive victory at the Houston Dynamo last Sunday wasn’t just a statement game to the rest of the league, but it also clinched a top-two place in the Eastern Conference.

As such, the Red Bulls were able to announce their playoff dates for the Eastern Conference semifinals, which will see them play the road leg on either November 2/3 and the home leg of their home-and-home aggregate series on November 6/7 at Red Bull Arena. The club also announced that though the opponent is still unknown, tickets are already on sale.

After running rampant in its 3-0 victory over Houston last weekend, starting with Tim Cahil scoring the fastest ever goal in MLS history, the Red Bulls have a chance to capture the clubs first ever Supporters’ Shield. A win at home versus Chicago on Sunday means the club would not only win its first piece of pertinent silverware, but it would also gain direct entry into next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Fagundez attempting to acquire U.S. citizenship? Are you worried about the Red Bulls falling in the first leg? Do you see Detroit joining MLS in the future?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The FIFA rules clearly says that a player who wants to change the nation he wants to represent must have been eligibile for the nation he wants to switch to before he represented the original nation in an youth or u-21 match. The only exception is if he only played friendlies. In this case Diego Fagundez might get a US passport, but still this will be several years since he played for 2 matches for Uruguay u-20, and if I’m not mistaken that was official games in the CONMEBOL u-20 tournament. No matter if he gets his passport he can’t play for the US, if not the info is wrong and he played only friendlies for Uruguay u-20.

  2. But what we should be asking ourselves is, “is he of American hair and skin?” That’s the international criteria set forth by Iceland so who are we to disagree?

    • You have to be a permanent resident for 3-5 years before becoming a citizen. Since he just got his green card, his time starts now.

      • That’s not really what he’s asking about. What he is wondering is why Fagundez waited until now to apply for a green card if he wants to become a citizen. He could have applied for a green card a year ago. Or two years ago. Or three. Or whatever. Had he decided five years ago that he wanted to be a US citizen he could have started the process then and become a citizen by now. For some reason, he didn’t. The OP is wondering why he decided to do this now rather than some time in the past.

      • Good question. I assume there is a renewal of non-resident visas or whatever for those who wish to stay but not commit to citizenship.

    • Kevin,

      “Should have been a citizen by now”?

      Five years ago Fagundez was 13. Maybe his parents did not know at the time that he would be a pro.

      His father was a pro in Uruguay and Diego did do the Under 20 thing for Uruguay. That suggests he and his family still have ties to Uruguay. Maybe they were hoping he would be good enough for Uruguay.

      The decision to make himself available to the US may have been a concession to the probability that the USMNT would be an easier path for Diego to get to the World Cup.

      Is it possible that being a starter for the Revs does not guarantee you a starting spot with Uruguay who currently have Suarez , Cavani and the older Forlan still around?

      Or it may be that signing for New England was the only way for Diego to get a green card. I don’t know the immigration status of his parents. Do you?

    • He would have to stay in MLS and not accept a call-up to the UNT for 5 years. In other words, we’ll get him if he’s not really good enough to play for us. Cue Groucho Marx.

  3. Ask Americans what city comes to mind when they think of a “dying city.”

    And, yet, Detroit might get a MLS franchise. That seems …forward-looking.

  4. I think that when a soccer player gets a green card, the immigration official should take it out of his/her top pocket and show it to the recipient by holding it high on the air.

  5. So, a guy that was born in Germany, never played or lived in the US and doesn’t even speak English can joint the USNT practically overnight but a guy that has lived here for 13 of his 18 years and learned everything he knows about soccer here in the states cannot?

    • OMG…will people give this a rest!

      Those people born in Germany or Norway have American parents. Therefore, they are citizens. Therefore, if YOU were an American and had kids (unfortunately :), that child would be a citizen by birthright even if they are born and raised elsewhere.

      No one is going to happy about it, so let’s stop talking about it.

      • Amen, they are as American as you, me, Ted Cruz (born in Canada to American mother and Cuban father), John McCain (born in Panama to Navy admiral at time when it did not convey automatic citizenship, only made citizen retroactively), Mitt Romney (born in US to family with one parent born in Mexico, ie, George Romney), or Barack Obama (born in Hawai’i to American mother and Kenyan father).

      • I don’t think that he is denigrating the German Americans, so much as pointing out the ironic circumstance that allows a person that has never stepped foot in America to be a citizen, while someone that was raised in America is not. Of the 2, Fagundez is the more “American” of the group, while the others are citizens. More importantly, to my mind, is that Fagundez is actually a product of American soccer. I am happy to have any American citizen represent the USMNT, but I also see the irony without outrage. Save the OMG for something worth taking God’s name in vain…oh wait…

      • These are American citizenship rules and have absolutely nothing to do with soccer.
        Call your Congressman and see if you can get your complaint fixed through immigration reform – assuming Congress ever actual reforms immigration rules.

      • think about the argentinians that get italian citizenship through a great grandfather…..that’s far more ironic….

      • yes, I think this is a major point. Those who say that dual-nationals takes away from the spirit of the international game must have been super highly offended by the history of international soccer.

      • Scott,

        You explainged it well. It is not like Fagundez really remembers a whole lot about living in Uruguay and definitley didn’t develop a ton of his soccer skills as a 3 and 4 year old.

        Now we need the government to move quickly and give this kid citizenship…we need to win a WC in my lifetime!

      • Well that wouldn’t be totally accurate. Growing up in a culture is much different than reading about it. I think the “more American” is learning the the culture first hand. You would agree that growing up in Germany the love of the sport is greater than here in America.

  6. You guys have no pride? Are willing to turn all foreigners who have skill in football in an American player. When a player has choice and opts for another country than the U.S., ya the curse of all ways, but when it is otherwise not have problems. The boy is uruguayo.

      • Teach your kids to play football. It easy. Just need a rubber ball or socks ball. Football can be played in the street, a vacant lot, a park …. anywhere. Do not need school.

      • Indeed. Teach your kids to play football. No one needs school. Your kids can grow up to a classless twit, too.

        If Fagundez decides to play for the USA, it will be because he grew up here, learning the game. Much more connection here than with Uruguay.

      • We are a country of immigrants. In fact around 1 in 5 of us was not born here. Therefore, you can expect that we would have at least 20% of our players as immigrants. We also have a global military and are the largest global economy by far. That means a lot of Americans go around the globe to either conduct business or protect the trade routes upon which those global interests rely. That gives us a second pool of citizens, those who are rightful and ethnic Americans (if there is such a thing) that can represent the National Team. It is not our fault that our laws, FIFA’s rules and our economic reach give us a eligible players. No point in whining about it as long as we follow the rules that every other country follows. I.e., Italy and Mexico have Argentines, Germany has Turks and Poles… France has Ivorian and Cameroonian players. It goes on and on. The USA is doing nothing different than what is allowed under our laws, what is allowed under FIFA regulations, and it is reflective of the composition of this country (native borns, immigrants, and ex-patriots are what make up our population.)

    • This is a nation of immigrants so saying they can’t play them is strange.

      FWIW, I kind of doubt Uruguay (or Argentina for that matter) are as competitive as they are if not for successive influxes of Spaniards and Italians. For example, where do you think a long-haired white guy named Cavani has heritage from…..Italy? He could have represented Italy and went there to ply his trade. Presumably spoke the language…..

      But in terms of the big picture, I would side with you on Fagundez for practical purposes. The reality is some people have choices to make, and to complain about that is silly. But I think you should pick one country and stick with it. Unless you are stateless somehow, or perhaps a literal political refugee, I don’t see how you should be allowed to switch once capped. If you want to give kids time to move around with family, start the cap-tie at the senior level. But I think it’s goofy if you appear for Germany senior and then file paperwork and blammo, USA.

      That being said, I’ll take whoeever we can get. I just think it’s getting silly.

    • CEU,
      Many years ago American made cars were crap. Cars from Japan, Germany, Sweden, etc. became available and forced Detroit to change its ways or die.
      Today American made cars are very much better.

      The US Space program got to the moon on the backs of ex Nazi scientists who were better than the Russians’ ex Nazi scientists.

      Americans have always taken advantage of good input from anywhere.

      Soccer in this country has been an ongoing process inextricably linked with immigrants.
      There is no such thing as a homegrown, entirely “native American” soccer culture unless you think Native Americans played the game way back before they were systematically eliminated as a people.

    • If the MLS switches to a winter schedule an open air stadium in Detroit is a big waste of money because no one will ever be able to play in it. That’s probably ok though Detroit has lots of money . . . Oh wait

    • Detroit is a better sports town than Miami, and (I believe) it has a larger population than Orlando. Are you a fan of those cities getting MLS teams? An MLS team _could_ be successful in Detroit. Can you give us reasons it wouldn’t work — instead of just throwing around insults?

      • Detroit better sports town that Miami??? Really? No way! Um, wait…ok, so you are right on that one.

        At least Orlando won’t need to ask for any money from the local gov’t like in Detroit! Wait…I got that backwards.

        Well, I guess it sounds like a pretty good place for an MLS team.

      • I grew up in Michigan, and I can think of many cities more deserving of a sports franchise than Detroit. The fact of the matter is that Detroit and most of Michigan is falling apart….A city who’s government is bankrupt, has one of the highest unemployment rate in the country, and is currently experiencing a mass exodus shouldn’t be in consideration.
        About the only thing going for it would be the easy of finding cheap real estate to build a stadium on.

      • These are valid concerns. If you think that things will continue to get worse (economically) for the Detroit area then adding an MLS team would be a bad choice. If you think that the Detroit area has bottomed out, then now might be a good time to invest in the area. I’m more concerned with the number of other professional and college teams in the area that an MLS team would be competing with for attention.

        There are certainly other cities that ‘deserve’ an MLS team, but it’s all about the ownership group and the stadium prospects. St. Louis would probably be a great spot for a team, but they don’t have any prospective owners (that I have heard of). Minneapolis might be a great place for an MLS team, but sharing a domed stadium with an NFL or college football team is not attractive.

        For selfish reasons I would love to have an MLS team in Detroit, but I don’t want one there if it’s not going to be successful. I’m willing to rely on Garber’s judgment about that.

    • I fail to see the connection between city government and sports teams.
      There are a lot of reasons why Detroit could work – including a huge population in the metropolitan area, a even bigger TV market that could help TV ratings, and a recently established, organized supporter base equal in size to the one in Philly when the Union were created.
      Detroit makes sense for a lot of reasons, if the owner is right, the stadium location is right, etc.

      • My concern with locating a franchise is you have to make sure that you get the right fanbase: (1) fans of the sport, (2) enough disposable income, (3) size, (4) local gov’t support.

        My concern is that Detroit fails in 3 of those departments

      • You are thinking too hard. It is the 14th biggest metro in the US and has natural rivalries from other sports with Toronto, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Detroit would be a great fit in MLS.

      • Lots of errant facts being thrown around about Detroit in this thread. Paul seems to suggest that fans in Detroit do not have enough disposable income to attend sporting events?

        There is a genuine interest in the game in Detroit that is growing among the one sector of the population that is currently actually moving to the city – young people.

        Look up Detroit City FC and the Northern Gaurd Supporters – one of the best supported clubs in the NPSL – D4 “pro” soccer.

  7. Too bad US immigration law takes soo long.. Diego, go for Uruguay! It would be interesting to see a MLS produced player play for a strong international side on a different continent.

    • Diego is good for a kid but not really NAT material right now. Not for Uruguay and not for us either. He is quite small and when you see him and Juan Agudelo on the field at the same time, you can see how much further Diego has to go. The big question in my mind is what will it take for JK to give Adudelo a call in? That kid has so much talent… he should get a shot in the upcoming friendlies

  8. I usually don’t do this, but while the sentence about Cahill is correct in that it was his fastest goal in mls, you probably wanted to say that he scored the fastest goal in the history of mls, and just not his own personal mls history.

  9. Uhm, Since Fagundez was not eligible for the US when he played for the Uruguay youth team, doesn’t that mean he is tied to Uruguay forever? Or is that just for a full national team call up?

      • Actually, he can be tied to Uruguay as a youth, but it has to be in a youth *competition* and he has to hold only Uruguayan citizenship at the time. He has only played in friendlies for Uruguay.

      • What Rory is referring to is that if you play in a senior international (friendly or not) while you are only eligible for one nation you are captied. This doesn’t apply to Fagundez with Uruguay the way I understand it because he never played a senior international.

      • If you do not carry duel citizenship at the time of representation a youth appearance in a competitive match will tie the player to that nation.
        Diego has only participated in friendly matches so he is not yet tied to any nation.

    • My understanding is that youth tournaments cap tie you, unless you have more than one passport. Similar to Edgar Castillo, he was able to make a switch even thought he played a youth tournament with Mexico because he had dual nationalities.

    • no. you can never be tied from playing on a youth team. you can be provisionally cap-tied if you play in a youth FIFA sanctioned event (like the U-20 World Cup). if that player wanted to play for another country (assuming he is eligible), he would have to file a one-time switch in order to do so. and of course, once a player does that there is no going back.

      • Well, if you only have one citizenship at the time you play in a youth competition, you are *effectively* cap-tied to that country because you must hold the citizenship at the time you play in the competition or there is no 2nd country to switch to.

      • WhIch is really bass-ackwards.

        If you’re eligible for 2 countries and you choose to play for one, that should be your country. If, however, you become eligible later, still as a youth, there’s less reason to hold one cap-tied. I understand why it’s done — to prevent one country from raiding another country’s top players, but it disadvantages those who, like Diego, get moved as a child, but won’t become eligible to represent their new country for years after they’ve reached international talent levels.

      • He’s right. It’s similar to the Nigel Reo Coker situation. If you play in an official youth competition before you have citizenship you cannot switch. Diego however only played youth friendlies so he can still play for the USA when he gets citizenship.

      • yes, but i was referring to players with two passports. i should not have used the word “never” or at least clarified my statement. given the OP was specifically talking about players like Diego who don’t hold two passports. my apologies.

  10. I think Detroit is a serious contender in MLS expansion. If they get a stadium, that will cost 250$million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that would be a soccer stadium gem, like SKC park. We need more owners like these in order to take MLS to the next level.
    So Orlando is in, Miami needs more planning and they are in with sss or not
    Then you got atlanta, and thats when Detroit comes in.
    I actually see San Antonio, Cosmos, Detroit, Sacramento fighting for the 24th spot, but if I was Garber, i would shoot for 26 teams by 2022.

  11. So for being the higher seed, the red bulls get to the second game of their 2 game playoff series at home….on a Wednesday or Thursday night. The lower seed, meanwhile, gets to play its home game on the weekend. MLS needs to do better than that.

  12. Man, I’m bummed about Fagundez, but unless there is a change in immigration laws, I can’t fault him for not waiting five years and instead choosing Uruguay. It is a case that illustrates the stupidity of the laws. A kid who has lived in the US for over 10 years already has to wait another five, especially as he is already a professional and paying taxes and all that goodness.

    • FIFA also has a rule that says you have to live 5 consecutive years in the new country after reaching age 18 before you can be eligible to play as a naturalized citizenship. It’s part of the discussion around Adnan Januzaj in the UK. Assuming that is a correct interpretation, Diego would have to stay in MLS for 5 more years… not likely either.

      • Why would you say that? Hes been here for about 13+ years already. Went to school here, has a new contract with the Revs, family is here, girl friend is here…. He has no ties to anywhere else and is more American than some of those we so quickly embrace that were the result of a weekend liberty

      • I say that because that is what the FIFA rulebook seems to say. Article 7, Acquisition of a New Nationality. I would love to someone to point me to a different interpretation.

      • Sorry… I misread. I just think the money is going to be too good to hang around. He’ll need to make a lot more than $100k in the US (plus, if he’s good, Uruguay might call for the U20s).

      • So what. Sign him to a DP contract. If Uruguay is going to make him a big part of their U-20 World Cup team and he wants to go, then let him play, sell him for big money and develop more players to replace him.

      • Ha is an Uruguayan. The process you talk about makes him about as “Americanized ” as Guiseppe Rossi who at least was born here, had an American passport and thinks of himself as a “jersey guy “.

        The shirt you wear on a soccer field while playing for a national team does not necessarily define how you think and feel about where you live. .

      • Ben,
        Do you think he is good enough for Uruguay? Do you think he can beat them out Suarez and Cavani arguably two of the best strikers in Europe at the moment?
        So the laws are stupid because they don’t make it convenient for the USMNT to cap this kid? I did not realize the USMNT was the most important thing when it came to immigration law.
        Ten years ago Diego was 8. Did his parents know then he was going to be an international level super star soccer player? Diego did the Uruguay Under 20 thing which suggests that he only recently decided to be available for the US. Maybe he did not like his Uruguayan teammates and heard that on US teams the locker room was great.
        What is the immigration status of his parents? Are they illegals? Students? Here on temporary work visas? Maybe they could not get him a card during those ten years.

        My guess is signing with the Revs and proving to be a viable product for them is might have been Diego’s easiest and only path to a green card and then citizenship.

    • Ben,

      Do you think he is good enough for Uruguay, the country that currently has Suarez and Cavani arguably two of the best strikers in Europe at the moment? Do you think he can beat them out?

      So the laws are stupid because they don’t make it convenient for the USMNT to cap this kid? I did not realize the USMNT was the most important thing when it came to immigration law.

      Ten years ago Diego was 8. Did his parents know then he was going to be an international level super star soccer player? Diego did the Uruguay Under 20 thing which suggests that he only recently decided to be available for the US. Maybe he thought his Uruguayan teammates were jerks and heard that on US teams the locker room was great.

      What is the immigration status of his parents? Are they illegals? Students? Here on temporary work visas? Maybe they could not get him a card during those ten years.
      My guess is signing with the Revs and proving to be a viable asset for them is might have been Diego’s easiest and only path to a green card and then citizenship.

      • 1/2 of the time has to be spent physically in the US. He just has to maintain ties to the US (bank accounts, pay taxes) and return on occasion.

      • From what I remember, you can’t spend more than 6 months away at a time and maintain ties here. However, that is met by visiting just under every 6 months. In other words, if he visits his family less than every 6 months, he will be ok.

      • Doh. I’m doubtful he goes 5 years without a Uruguay call up. Actually, I’m doubtful he goes two years, considering he was a possible injury alternate for their U20 WC team this past June.

      • Expedited citizenship happens all the time with soccer players all over the world. I recall David Regis’ paperwork being rushed through so he could play in the World Cup for the US, and if memort serves, Freddy Adu went through an expedited process as well, with Bruce Arena’s help.

      • Other countries do expedite, but the US doesn’t really do it anymore.

        Regis took advantage of a specific loophole. If you marry a US citizen and that citizen takes a job overseas with the US government or a US company, you can be *immediately* naturalized. It’s a rule designed so that spouses of US citizens who are forced to move overseas for government work aren’t penalized for the action taken at the request of the government. It’s also simpler for the government if spouses are both US citizens if there needs to be a diplomatic intervention of some kind.

        That rule is still available and US marathoner Khalid Khannouchi took advantage of it to run in 2000 Olympics.

        Adu’s process was not expedited.

      • Regis situation was different – he qualified for citizenship based on his American wife. Process, timeline and eligibility for fast-tracking are different.

      • Mr. Kar,

        Regis met and married his American wife in 1994. They lived abroad and did not reside in the US for the period of time normally necessary for Regis to become a US citizen but since she was a Government worker that was waived. Regis becoming a citizen was within all the normal parameters, i.e. three years, associated with his marriage.

        Where the “expediting” part comes in is in the fact that normally there was a ton of red tape associated with getting all the paperwork through. Normally that is not necessarily a big deal but Sampson wanted Regis qualified for the 1998 World Cup and so pulled every string he could to get that done. He just made the deadline.

        What is of greater importance in his case is that he was a very speedy natural centerback who was converted to left back to play in the 1998 World Cup.

      • Dooley & Stewart have American fathers… no naturalization required. Wegerle married an American and had been in the US for nearly 10 years before becoming a citizen.

      • I can’t remember Wegerle’s particulars but Dooley and Stewart were citizens since they had American fathers. Different situation…

Leave a Comment