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Report: Club America’s Alvarado rejects calls from U.S. Soccer to pursue El Tri dream

VenturaAlvaradoClubAmerica1 (Mexsport)

By DAN KARELL

It’s not often anymore that you see a dual-national soccer player who grew up in the USA decide to play for another nation.

Sure, it’s happened before, the most high-profile cases being Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic, but considering U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s approach to calling in dual-nationals to the U.S. senior and junior teams, it is a subject that hasn’t been broached in some years.

It comes as a surprise then as a report out of Mexico states that Club America centerback Ventura Alvarado dreams of playing for the Mexican National Team, despite having received calls from the U.S. Soccer Federation in the past.

“The truth is to play in a Mexican team and one like (Club) America is a dream for any young person (in the USA),” Alvarado told Televisa Deportes.

Alvarado, 22, was born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., and holds dual citizenship with the USA and Mexico. At the age of 15, he joined the America youth ranks and has risen through them, making his first team debut in July 2012. Despite holding dual nationality, the transition to one of Mexico’s biggest club’s wasn’t always easy.

“My whole family is in the U.S.,” Alvarado said. “The hardest part was learning Spanish, I spoke it but I had to perfect it.”

Alvarado has yet to play for either Mexico or the USA at any level, though the report states that he has rejected offers to play for the U.S. to keep his dreams for playing with El Tri alive. Due to his age and birth year (1992), Alvarado is not eligible to be a member of the U-23 squads that will compete for a place in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Therefore, his next and only potential call-up will be with the full national team.

In a somewhat meaningless game last Saturday (America had already qualified for the Liga MX playoffs as the No. 1 seed), Alvarado earned his first start in Liga MX action. Although the weakened America side fell at home to Atlas, 2-1, Alvarado played all 90 minutes in the match.

“(I’m) very happy, very grateful to all the coaching staff, with my teammates who are supporting me and I feel very comfortable starting right now,” Alvarado said on being a regular part of America’s squad for cup games both domestically and internationally. “I do not feel nervous or anything, I feel very comfortable. And to be honest, right now I’m very motivated to give everything I can bring to the team.”

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What do you think of this report? Do you see Alvarado playing for Mexico in the future? Do you feel that U.S. Soccer is missing out on a future National Team starter?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. In a strange sort of way, this is a good sign for the USMNT that some border line dual national prospects are sizing up their prospects and going with other options. Najar and Beitashour come to mind. Now this dude, if true.

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    • My understanding of the Najar ( who may be at Spurs next season) situation was that he was not really interested in playing for the US and that he did not really want to wait the 5 years he needed for citizenship.

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  2. He probably grew up thinking he was “Mexican” when in reality he is American and his parents/grandparents are the ones that are Mexican.

    I live in San Diego and it drives me crazy to meet all these Mexican fans that have not lived one day in Mexico. The funny thing is real Mexicans don’t see Mexican-Americans as Mexicans but rather as Pochos. It is a strange thing that people in the United States call themselves “Mexican” “Irish” “Portugese” etc and in reality if they went to any of these countries nobody there is going to think of them as Mexican, Irish or Portugese.

    I am Mexican-American and always catch a hard time from other MAs about not being proud of my heritage. First of all, these are not heritage teams they are national teams and my country is the US. Secondly, you can be both proud of your heritage and proud to be American. These feelings are not mutually exclusive.

    My famly moved to this country to better their lives (and of their children) and I am thankful everyday. Lots of Mexican-Americans feel pissed off becasue they feel poor, but this just shows how out of touch they are with Mexico. The poor there are so much worse off.

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    • Well they also feel that way because they probably don’t feel part of the fabric of the US, but I get what you’re saying. I was born and raised in the US and I’m Latino. Never really felt a part of the country to be honest. But I’m glad Latinos like yourself are. I think it’s becoming more and more common among the younger generation of Latinos in the US.

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  3. Well, 1st thing…His comments didn’t say anything of the sort. 2nd, Is this headline click bait? This probably should have been 1st, Is he any good? (Is he an international standard player)

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  4. Another backhanded slap at MLS. Play in Mex and you automatically qualify for a callup. Star in MLS and u might get a look in camp cupcake…of course crappola play by Zusi and Wondo in the Wc didn’t help

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    • I wouldn’t be surprised that he’s been called to see if he would like to join the U.S. U-20s or U-18s in the past, but he’s obviously rejected that. I’d be very surprised to hear that he’s been called up by Klinsmann. He’s hardly played for America.

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  5. “The truth is to play in a Mexican team and one like (Club) America is a dream for any young person (in the USA),” Alvarado told Televisa Deportes.

    I’m sorry, but that’s hilarious. You’re saying that younger Americans grow up wanting to play in Mexico? Not Europe, or heaven forbid, the United States??

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      • It actually look worse for the MLS when you look at median (whichi more important). The median pay in Liga MX is more than 2x’s MLS median pay because the top 6 earners earn a disproportionate amount of the total salaries of player income in MLS (and thus skew the salary average upward). In 2014, those 6 earned 28.5% of the league’s full player wages (http://www.stathunting.com/2014/04/11/mls-salaries-visualized/). The lowest salary was $36,500. For example for 2013, the MLS has a base salary around $35,000, a median salary of $75,000 (http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/13/mls-player-salaries-analysis-charts-and-tables/).

        MLS is TOO TOP HEAVY (salary-wise). Anyone with a basic understanding of statistics will tell you that if 2 data samples are compared, the sample with the higher average and lower top end pay has less salary disparity and a higher median pay. As such the average player, average starter and team depth would be better paid (and better). I remember Hercules Gomez laughing about the disparity on twitter.

        The other key thing is that Liga MX also does a better job of recognizing better, technical players. So the median pay is better, they don’t have a salary cap and pay those skilled players a higher median wage.

        However, if you are an elite top 5 player, MLS pays you more ($5-8 million).

      • It actually looks worse for the MLS when you look at median pay (which is better indicator of pay). The median pay in Liga MX is more than 2x’s MLS median pay because the top 6 earners earn a disproportionate amount of the total player salary in MLS (and skew the salary average upward). In 2014, those 6 players earned 28.5% of the league’s full player wages (www.stathunting.com/2014/04/11/mls-salaries-visualized). In 2104, the lowest salary was $36,500. For 2013, the MLS base salary was around $35,000, with a median salary of $75,000 (prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/13/mls-player-salaries-analysis-charts-and-tables).

        MLS is TOO TOP HEAVY (salary-wise). Anyone with a basic understanding of statistics will tell you that if 2 data samples are compared, the sample with the higher average and lower top end pay has less salary disparity and a higher median pay. As such the average player, average starter and team depth would be better paid. I remember Hercules Gomez laughing about the disparity on twitter. In addition, Liga MX also does a better job of recognizing technical players. As such, the median pay is better, they don’t have a salary cap and pay those skilled players a higher median wage.

        However, if you are an elite top 5 player, MLS pays you more ($5-8 million).

      • Your argument is very much on point statistically, but it is a bit misleading. DP’s salaries are really outside the context of the CBA/salary cap. As long as the DP protocol exists, controlling and levelizing salary distribution will be a fruitless exercise (which makes sense– the theoretical point of the DP rule is to provide acceptable conditions for outliers based on exceptional talent).

        One could argue that a more appropriate way to evaluate the data is to either exlude DPs, or include them at their cap impact ($387.500 this year). Certainly, MLS average and median (the more meaningful number, as you correctly point out) woud still trail Liga MX considerably. However, this gap will close for both “organic reasons” (increased spending by teams driven by reveue growth) and “inorganic/CBA reasons” (salary cap increase, reduced roster size, DP cap hit)

        Catching up to Liga MX in this regard will take time, as it will only happen to the extent the teams remain profitable, with major “leaps” likley taking place at the CBA renogotiation windows.

      • Diego,

        Thanks for the meaningful feedback. That seems to happen less and less on this site as people are more interested in ranting. I think we are essentially agreeing about the statistical meaning of the data.

        I was trying to make the point that MLS is actually further behind from Liga MX than people realize, and that only becomes apparent when one takes out the outliers. The Liga MX average is probably roughly the same as the median given the lack of outliers and less distribution of data points. If one makes that assumption, it won’t be a far stretch that MLS median ($75,000) is less than 1/5th or 1/6th Liga MX Median GBP270, 000 ($450,000).

      • Yeah I do agree we are effectively saying the same thing. I think MLS is probably okay with the outliers it has, simply because it introduced them knowingly to accomodate specific opportunities , and has controls available to reduce the disparity as it becomes less necessary.

        It would be interesting to see how Liga MX avg/median salaries have been growing, in order to assess how fast MLS salaries would need to grow in order to become competetive. One would think that Liga MX is somehwhat limited in future growth potential, given the saturation that has already been achieved domestically.

  6. Hmm. I have also read before that he has had eyes for only representing the USA in the past. So conflicting reports for sure. I think he is just pandering to both Media’s. Whatever happens is whatever happens. There will come a day(soon) when the USMNT is turning down dual nationals because they aren’t good enough.

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  7. That’s a shame. He’s the type of player Klinsmann wants: willing to test himself. I guess the weak minded Germans will have to do for now.

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  8. No problem with him choosing El Tri. We are well stocked with Mexican American talent that actually want to play for the Barras Y Estrellas.

    -Hercules Gomez
    -Joe Corona
    -Benji Joya
    -Greg Garza
    -Omar Gonzales
    -Luis Gil
    -Jose “Gringo” Torres
    -Jose Villareal
    -Fernando Arce Jr.
    -Daniel Cuevas
    -Rubio Rubin
    -Michael Orozco Fiscal
    -Edgar Castillo
    -Paul Ariola

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      • I saw that. He hasn’t really been receiving playing time since leaving the Red Bulls. I’m really interested in seeing Ariola get more of a look. He showed well with our youth NT and in his game-by-game loans to Dorados.

    • how many of those would even make it to the bench for Mexico though? Benji Joya even said in an interview that he only decided to play for the US because he wasn’t good enough for Mexico.

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      • I think the USMNT has less in-fighting than the Mexican team. We are a tighter unit. That being said, the Mexican team has more attacking talent than the US going forward, and the core of that talent is fairly young. Mexico matches better with better talented teams like Brazil and Netherlands etc (they hold the ball better and attack better).

      • Benji Joya wasn’t good enough to even dress for one of the worst teams in MLS this year. So no he’s not good enough for Mex or the U.S. if his name was Ben Joy who came up from the Crews organization he wouldn’t even be in any natl team conversation

        Somebody forgot to tell Klinsman that affirmative action was ruled unconstitutional

      • Herc and Gringo Torres were at the world cup in South Africa. They contributed well during the last gold cup/qualifying cycles. Omar was a starter at the last WC and is part of our current CB tangent with Beasler. The rest are coming up or have just come through our youth system. But you wouldn’t know that since you are just a troll.

    • How? The guy is as much Mexican as he is American. His parents are Mexican. He probably grew up with a strong sense of identification to the Mexican culture. He has a right to choose either. My only issue would be if he moved to a country to which he had little or no ties to play then decided to play for them (a la Diego Costa). They have also had him since he was 15 (so he was developed there as much as he was here). No issues either way with me, but don’t let me stop your myopic view of the world.

      However, if your statement was facetious, ignore everything I said.

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      • “My only issue would be if he moved to a country to which he had little or no ties to play then decided to play for them (a la Diego Costa).”

        It’s not accurate to say he has little or no ties to Spain.

        Since 2006 Costa has played professionally in Europe, first in Portugal (one season), then Spain and finally England. He is 26 so he has spent the best part of his professional time in Spain. It is entirely possible he felt more at home playing for Spain than Brazil.

  9. He’s not really quoted outright saying he wants to play for Mexico. In fact, the subject doesn’t enter the equation until the last paragraph where the writer, in a complete non sequitur, claims Alvarado has turned down callups from US youth national teams in hopes of one day playing for El Tri. Until I hear it from the horse’s mouth, I’m not buying it.

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    • Absolutely. Considering he isn’t available for any teams other than the full NT now, seems odd that he would be a call-up target for the US. Perhaps a feeler, but he’s not starting. Perhaps he’s BFFs with Luis Martir and there was some miscommunication somewhere.

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  10. “My whole family is in the U.S.,” Alvarado said. “The hardest part was learning Spanish….”

    ???? Why would you say this then say that you want to play for the El Tri? He’s welcome to make any decision he likes, but this is a bit of a head scratcher.

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    • He said this becauswe it is true for him. My guess he is your typical pocho that claims to be mexican while in the usa, and claims to be an american while in mexico. If he was truly all about being mexican, he would have learned to speak the language prior to trying to play there.

      Realistically, he made his decision based on his chance to play. Too much youth with good experience on the usa backline. From a business perspective the choice makes sense; he should have just been more honest abouit it.

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      • “Realistically, he made his decision based on his chance to play. Too much youth with good experience on the usa backline.”
        we really don’t have any defender that would get playing time for Mexico except for Yedlin and that’s mostly because he would fit like a glove with Herrera’s system.

      • I dont agree ….. Imho backline style of play is different. That said, i would be shocked if el tri wouldnt die to have omar on their backline.

        I stand by what i said, if you want to talk forwards … I agree. With respect to goalies and backline i beg to differ

      • If that were the case, Ignacio Gonzalez from Leon and Huiqui would be regular starters for Mexico.

        Their 3 CB set up would expose Omar.

        Heck, the guys they tried out during their last few games all got exposed with the exception of Reyes and Alanis.

        If they’re hurting for tall and slow CBs, they could always just use Maza Rodriguez.

    • I am actually not surprised. If you grow up in a Mexican household here in the US (especially in places like Southern California—I can’t speak to other places that I would feel are similar), you probably grow up watching and following El Tri.

      Anecdotally, my wife is Mexican-American, and her brother always said that if he ever got far enough he would only play for El Tri. Barely spoke any Spanish… rarely visits Mexico, but he grew up watching them. He still always roots for them. I’m sure its a cultural thing: most of the times you root for the same team as the people that introduce you to the sport. (Note: whether he had that kind of potential is not my point.)

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      • I can see that. I am an immigrant from Mexico. I came when I was 12. However, my folks didn’t really watch soccer, just occasionally. I watched on my own. By the time I was in College I was mostly rooting for the USMNT. I still support Mexico, but I figure I am now a US citizen and I live here, so the USMNT comes first before the Mex NT

  11. I have no problem with this guy choosing Mexico. This guy got his first league start with Club America at age 23? Never been on a youth national team for Mexico? Is he even on El Tri’s radar? It will be interesting to see if he ever gets a call-up for Mexico. If not, he may drag his a$$ back to the USMNT and beg Klinsi for scraps from the table.

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  12. Nothing wrong with that conviction and drive to represent who best represents you. I wish him well and the best of luck residing in 2nd place in the region.

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    • He has been in Mexico a while it seems. The only thing I’m grumpy about is that Mexico might get a good CB. Deny resources to the Enemy!

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    • I generally agree. However, the second place is not a given for El Tri anymore, El Tri barely finished 4th in last Hexagonal (“God Bless America, we love you”) and El Tri did not make it to the finals of the last Gold Cup. In any event, the dude would have had hard time breaking into the USMNT as a defender. He is already behind our other options: Brooks, for example, is younger, already played and scored in the WC, and plays in a much better league. He started and went 90 minutes in a win over FC Cologne this week-end.

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      • We’re really not going to pretend our Jones-led backline is immaculate, are we? The one that cost us games in Brazil? There is a contest from which certain players are threatening to emerge ahead but Ireland just ripped us to heck and we had to convert Jones.

        If he’s any good he’d have plenty of opportunities. I’d say it’s more like Mexico has been on a down ebb where that might be even easier.

      • “Jones-led backline is immaculate, are we? The one that cost us games in Brazil”

        Jones did not play center back in Brazil.

        ” Ireland just ripped us to heck and we had to convert Jones.”

        Jones did not play in the Ireland game.

      • Lol agreed. Why are we acting like we have more suitable options at CB atm? Its not like we didnt get ripped to shreds a week ago.

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