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Fagundez makes final Uruguay U-20 squad, could become cap-tied

DiegoFagundezNERevs2-ColumbusCrew2014MLSPlayoffs (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports


Diego Fagundez’s international future could be sealed in the coming days.

The New England Revolution midfielder was named to the final 20-man squad for Uruguay’s Under-20 National Team set to take part in the South American Youth Championships later this month. If Fagundez plays in the tournament, he will be ineligible to represent the USA in international competition, due to Fagundez not in possession of a U.S. passport.

Fagundez, who currently holds a U.S. green card, would have to wait another three years for U.S. citizenship, according to a report in the Boston Globe. This is despite Fagundez living in the Boston, Mass. area since he was five-years old.

The 19-year-old starlet has accepted call-ups to Uruguay’s U-20 team over the past six months for friendly matches but his inclusion in the final squad likely means the end of any chance for him to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team in the future. Fagundez in the past had been open to playing for either the USA or Uruguay.

Fagundez signed a Homegrown player contract with the Revolution as a 15-year-old, and had a breakout season in 2013, scoring 13 goals and adding seven assists. This past year, despite playing 31 times and starting 25 games, Fagundez finished the season with five goals and four assists, and didn’t feature once in the Revolution’s run to the MLS Cup final.

Although he was left unprotected in the expansion draft, Revolution president Brian Bilello confirmed on his official Twitter account that Fagundez would return to the Revs in 2015.

Uruguay have a gauntlet of teams waiting for them in the opening stage of the South American Youth Championship, CONMEBOL’s biennial U-20 tournament. Uruguay U-20 will take on Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela for a place in the final stage, of which three of the six teams in the group will make it into.

In the final stage, which combines the top three nations from Groups A and B, the top four finishers will advance to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.


What do you think of this news? Disappointed that it looks like the USMNT lost out on Fagundez? Do you see him starting for Uruguay U-20s in the tournament?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Give the kid some credit. At least he decided to follow his heart and try to make the harder team instead of taking the easy way out by joining the USNT.

    • It’s not about taking the easy way out. It’s the fact that he hasn’t been contacted by ANYONE from USSF for anything, and the late application to become a citizen by his family doesn’t help either. In the end, you gotta do what you gotta do.

      • Why would anyone from US Soccer contact him? He’s 4 years away from US eligibility. That’s forever in soccer.

        And his family wasn’t involved in applying for the Green Card. That was all the Revs. His family was never eligible to apply for citizenship as he has only had the Green Card for a year.

  2. US doesn’t need him. We need players who want to go to Europe no matter what. Can’t you see all the progress Jozy is making riding the bench at Sunderland? Competing against the best bench warmers in the world right there! Much better than actually playing.

    • Nope. A one-time switch applies to persons who are eligible to play for more than one country prior to the point where their eligibility will be tied to a specific country. He’s only eligible to play for Uruguay at this point as he’s only a citizen of Uruguay, and playing in an official FIFA tournament now at any level will tie him to them from now on.

  3. I think waiting another 3 years would be pretty rough for the kid. Having said that, it confuses me how the whole US citizenship process works. He’s been living here since he was 5, and you read stories about other people who have only been here 5-10 years, yet they have citizenship. What has taken so long?

    • I think you actually have to apply for it. As a Rev’s fan from the beginning, I am going to say that this is not a big deal for the US. Diego isn’t even playing for the Rev’s by seasons end and his career seems to be going down hill. Also, he’s too small for the international game. Having watched both him and Juan Agudelo in a Rev’s uniform, Juan is by far the more skilled and if the US really cared about either of them, they should get Juan back in the fold (forget Brek, bring back Juan)

      • He’s good enough for Uruguay’s National Team but not for an MLS team?
        A 19 year old whose career is going downhill?
        Too small for the international game?
        No better than a player with no team?
        I know this site is always good for a laugh but you over did it.

      • I don’t agree with everything Extra wrote but Fagundez lost his place in the NE team this season so his career isn’t exactly on the upswing. He’s probably hoping to go to the U-20 world cup, gain some exposure, and parlay that into a move abroad to jump start things.

        It’s always a shame when players who lived here for a large portion, or all, of their lives have more loyalty to some foreign land than the US, but this is also a business decision. I also don’t think this hurts the USMNT much.

      • I really doubt he has a lot of “loyalty.” Maybe its just comes down to never having been there. Idealism a big thing. You see it in Scottish American’s that wear kilts when their family left 5 generations ago.

        I imagine its a matter of convenience in the end.

      • Extra,

        If he is not beating out Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury for playing time, why do you think he will beat out Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani?

      • He lost his spot to Kelyn Rowe, not Teal. By the end of the season, Heaps was not even using him as first sub in. He was moving Chris Tierney up to left half rather then play Diego.

        I’m thinking Uruguay wants to just cap tie him (if they can) just in case he develops into something. Kind of like we did with Green.

        Of the two, I think Diego is better though. I am totally unimpressed with Green

      • Since I watch his team every week and know the situation while apparently you know nothing about Diego or his abilities… laugh away

      • Even though I follow the other half of the league more, I tend to agree with Diz the Fagundez’s game peaked in 2013. What I see is a player who has skills that often don’t translate into a team game. He’s diminutive and not particularly strong on the ball, yet he lacks the quickness to overcome this deficiency. He is young and could raise his level, but I agree, I don’t see him having the raw genetics to become an international player for either nation.

        Tab Ramos seems very happy with the midfielders that he has available and I agree. To me they have more potential that Fagundez.

        Juan needs to swallow his pride and return to MLS.

    • Based on circumstantial evidence, Diego’s parents were probably not legally in the US (overstayed their visa), meaning they couldn’t start the process. There’s almost no visa in the US that wouldn’t have allowed you to apply for a Green Card after such a long time.

      They took the risk to stay in the US and were able to become legal once Diego got his P-1 visa. It’s actually surprising they let him go to a US youth camp, knowing he likely couldn’t get his citizenship anytime soon.

    • Depends on the situation. But Its possible their particular processing and application for US citizenship didn’t start till very late. Its too bad for the US team to loose a youngster for Uruguay. Fagundez is 19 years old & plays for the Revs who came 2nd place for MLS Cup. He could become an incredible player.

      As for players who have 2 countries to choose for. It’ll happen from time to time. We got Fransisco Torres and Juan Aguadelo … but of course lost a few players like Rossi & Stukovic. It really depends on case by case scenario. Getting Gedion Zelalen is not too shabby. You win some & loose some. That’s soccer life.

      • what are you talking about? Green was born here to a parent who is American. How can you get any more American than that???

      • Somy said American “footballer”. Some people care about having players who were mostly developed in the the US, play for the US. If we ever do develop a world class field player, it would be nice if they played for the US, don’t you think. Green’s footballing talent is not American

      • Fagundez has lived here since he was 5. He is more American than most of us. Have you seen the MLS insider on him? Dude wears a camoflauge hat and drives a pick up.

      • He is all but officially. Blame his parents for not adjusting his status earlier, despite the fact that he was eligible.

      • I’m curious how you think his parents were eligible for a Green Card. The Boston Globe reported that he wouldn’t have been able to leave the country & return before he got his P-1 to play for the Revs. That’s pretty solid evidence that his parents had overstayed their previous visa & weren’t legally in the US.

      • Not really. FIFA says:

        Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on
        residence in a certain Country is eligible to play for the representative teams of
        the Association of that Country.

        Green Cards aren’t *permanent* and do require residence in the US. They don’t meet FIFA’s definition.

        Plus, FIFA requires a “new” citizen spend at least 5 years in that country after receiving the new nationality (after age 18). Diego would still have 4 more years to wait, since he got his Green Card a year ago.

      • I understand why you think that but did you read the article I linked where it says,

        “Under FIFA’s statues, both Fagundez and Nagbe would be eligible right now to represent the United States, if US Soccer were to change its citizenship requirement to a “nationality” requirement consistent with the FIFA Statutes”

      • And that’s the writer’s opinion… He and others have stated it before, but I don’t think they are correct. I questioned it on the article itself previously and never got a response.

        Yes, the US government has “nationals” — American Samoa primarily — but the law would have to be changed to give Green Card holders the passport they need for FIFA. And the current Congress isn’t going to do that.

      • I think it is pretty clear. Fagundez meets the US definition of a “US national” and a “national of the United States”. His green card and if he were to commit to representing the US would be more than enough proof of his allegiance to the US. I don’t see anywhere in the FIFA statutes where FIFA requires a player to have a passport from the country he is representing, but if you can point out where that is required, I will concede the point. However, even if a passport were required, given his recent actions I’m pretty sure the Pres Obama would be more than happy to issue him a passport by executive action. The five years of residency after their 18th birthday requirement pertains to players who want to get their one time switch approved by FIFA if they were not a nationals of the country they want to switch too when they represented the first country.

      • Also Boston, what I think is really the key is that Fagundez clearly meets the intent of FIFA’s statutes regarding national team representation, which is that he have a clear connection with the country he wants to represent. growing up here and developing his game here is a very clear connection. So if Uruguay would try to dispute the issue I think they would fail

      • Mr. Wood Chip,

        It is actually not clear to your point. Frankly, the author of the piece misunderstands the USA law and FIFA regulations.

        You fail on multiple fronts. US does require nationality and citizenship IS A FORM OF NATIONALITY. See the third point below. Let’s discuss this point by point:

        – First, “FIFA Regulation 5.1 states, “Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of that country.” -> Green Card/Permanent Residency IS DEPENDENT on residency in the US. In fact, most residencies statuses in most countries I know of is dependent on residency in that country of question. US is actually more LENIENT than others because you live in another country and just visit every 6 months to maintain your permanent residency in the US.

        – Second, you made an incorrect statement: “Under FIFA’s statues, both Fagundez and Nagbe would be eligible right now to represent the United States, if US Soccer were to change its citizenship requirement to a “nationality” requirement consistent with the FIFA Statutes.” -> Even your link says they are not eligible now. Your link also provides a poor analysis because US does use the main tenant of the FIFA nationality description because US nationality is not dependent on residence in the US (as it applies to citizens of Puerto Rico/America Samoa/Guam who do not have US passports).

        Third; “”The term “national of the United States” means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.”” -> Green Card holder owes no permanent allegiance to the United States.

        There is a nuanced distinction when it comes nationality versus citizenship. However, that comes into play when discussing the home nations of Great Britain (N. Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales) etc and nations under US protection/explicit agreement (Puerto Rico) as well as others. For example Puerto Ricans have US nationality, not US citizenship.

        The article does a decent, but not great job at deconstructing the legal analysis because it still fails on couple points. However, it still explicitly states that the US laws would have to change to make Nagbe and Fegundez eligible. That has always been the issue; citizenship is defined by each state (country). By current US law, neither player is eligible. They are neither nationals nor citizens.

      • @Anthony — Good points. One correction — Guamians and Puerto Ricans are US citizens. The residents of American Samoa are consider “US nationals.”

      • Mr zip,

        The article you cited just glosses over arguably the most important part of the FIFA regs on international players and their eligibility, Article 5:

        5 Principle
        1. Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on
        residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of
        the Association of that country.”

        There are some notable exceptions such as Great Britain which has their four home countries, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales competing as independent countries but FIFA allows the home associations to make those kind of exceptions as long as they all formally agree, something they did a long time ago.

        The US has something similar with Puerto, Rico, and their Pacific territories, vestiges of the imperialistic times but that won’t help you with Nagbe and Fagundez.

        Your basic argument is that Diego and Nagbe, holders of Green Cards, meet the definitions of “permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence”.

        I’m no lawyer but I doubt your argument would hold up to professional scrutiny.

        A Green card does not fit this definition:

        “The holder must maintain permanent resident status, and can be removed from the United States if certain conditions of this status are not met…..

        Under certain conditions, permanent residence status can be lost involuntarily. This includes committing a criminal act that makes a person removable from the United States. A person might also be found to have abandoned his/her status if he or she moves to another country to live there permanently, stays outside the USA for more than 365 days (without getting a re-entry permit before leaving), or does not file an income tax return on their worldwide income. “

        In other words as a US citizen ( I am assuming that you are) you could sign for Barca, live and play in Europe and not set foot in the USA for 5 years and still retain your US citizenship.

        But if you were a Green Card holder you’d have to come back once a year.

        There is a world of difference between being a Green Card holder and being a US citizen.

        As best as I can tell the definition of a US national is a person who has a US passport or is qualified to have one. And I’m pretty certain every other nation absent the peculiar exceptions, have the same definition. What is different is the degree of difficulty, most notably the length of time, it takes to get a US passport vs. some other passports.

        And the USMNT cannot do much about that.

        I’m sure if the President and the Congress wanted to do something, it could be done but I’m just naïve enough to think our government has more important things to do than get Nagbe and Fagundez qualified to play for the USMNT.

        Besides, given how much that would increase their options I’m sure that the USSF would have done what you suggest if they could have. That they have not tells me it is not practical to do so. Or maybe they have a personal vendetta against Nagbe and Diego.

      • If you want to consider him an American, that is up to you.

        But as far as the USMNT, is concerned he is not.

        He is a legal permanent resident and five years after he decides to apply for citizenship, if and when he decides to do that, then he can get his citizenship and his passport.

        US citizenship should be attained through a process a little more organized than taking a poll on SBI as to the merits of Fagundez’s “Americaness” whatever the f++k that means.

      • American “FOOTBALLER” As in somebody who was developed in America or learned the game in America. “AMERICAN FOOTBALLER”
        Think about it for a second before replaying. The concept is not that hard to understand. For most people anyways.

      • Sonny,

        If you want to make up your personal definitions of things like calling a cat a dog feel free.

        No one cares.

        But my only interest in this topic is regarding the USMNT .And for them an American footballer has to be an American citizen..

        And Diego may look act, sound and feel like one but he ain’t one., at least for official purposes of the USMNT which is all I care about.

      • Diego could wait.

        Five years from Octrober 2013 is October of 2018 which means Diego likely ain’t going to be eligible for the 2018 WC USMNT squad.

        When 2022 rolls around he’ll be about 27-28.

        That is an eternity for a soccer player assuming Diego’s dream is to play in a World Cup.

        I’m not familiar with the Uruguayan forward pool other than Cavani and Suarez so I don’t know what Diego’s prospects are in terms of becoming a regular and getting into the 2018 Uruguayan WC team.

        I’m not in Diego’s shoes but I would think this is one decision he might want to delay until he gets a clearer picture of what his international future is likely to be with either nation.

  4. We are just going to have to get used to this stuff happening. There is a lot of talented South Anerican/Latin American players in this country that 1. Don’t have citizenship or 2. Feel more connected to their heritage/parents home country


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