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Mexico’s te Kloese: Jonathan Gonzalez will not be the last

Jonathan Gonzalez is just the latest high-profile player to choose between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico, and an El Tri executive insists that the midfielder’s situation is one that will repeat itself in the future.

Mexican federation (FMF) director of national teams Dennis te Kloese says he doesn’t expect Gonzalez to be the last Mexican-American to opt to represent El Tri on the international level. Te Kloese was reportedly “instrumental” in convincing Gonzalez to opt to represent El Tri after featuring for the U.S. as a youth player.

“Due to the fact there is so much talent of Mexican descent in the United States that can represent both Mexico and the United States, the case of Jonathan will not be the last,” Te Kloese said in an interview with ESPN FC on Wednesday. “It’s not only on the men’s side, it’s also the women’s side.

“It’s just a different situation. There’s probably not a country in the world where so many people from one nationality live in a neighboring country.”

One recent example of matters turning in the opposite direction is the case of Jesse Gonzalez, who chose the U.S. over Mexico last summer after featuring for El Tri in his youth.

Te Kloese says that the FMF has a scouting network set up within the U.S. in an effort to “continue to be on top of things” when it comes to identifying and eventually recruiting Mexican-Americans.

“I understand that there are sometimes disputes for players, but it is both ways,” said Te Kloese. “It’s not like a win-win situation always. Our policy has been to leave it up to the players and their families to choose.

“In the end, it’s their decision and they need to be 100 percent convinced of the opportunity to play for us. Obviously the standard is high to be part of our program.”


  1. I read an interesting article the other day, which I was unable to find a way to share. It was basically an interview with Hugo Perez, former US international and US youth coach. Perez said he was the first one to discover Gonzalez and he got him onto the U14 team (didn’t know we had one) and got him recognized. He also said he was involved in identifying Pulisic early. Anyway, Perez said that in the past and continuing even now, US youth soccer favors size and athletic skill over technical ability. He believes that US Soccer didn’t think all that highly of Gonzalez because he was small and not as athletic as many of our other youth players. As Perez points out, that favors players who develop physically early and when other players develop later, they are kind of behind the 8 ball. This has one result of discriminating against many Mexican-American players who are often smaller. This also means that the US overlooks or under appreciates players who are more creative on the ball and this inhibits our attack in our national teams, both youth and adult.Just from viewing outside the system, this criticism seems to have merit and one of the problems with our whole youth system is the pay to play approach which tends to favor middle and upper class youth, who tend to be more white and less minority. Also, Messi was very small and I have read that Barcelona actually put him on a regimen of HGH (human growth hormone) when he was about 10 in order to increase his size and strength. If he had been American, would he have been discovered?

    • Perhaps but I feel like we’ve also seen many smaller Mexican-American attacking players be given an opportunity at the youth levels and not work out as professionals. From Luis Gil, Benji Joya, Jose Villareal, to name a couple.

    • The MNT head coaches understand these things – the Arenas, Klinsmanns, Ramos, any new generation MLS coach – but have to play the hand they’re dealt. It is the youth coaches, parents, etc who still don’t get it at a national level and continue – it has been this way for 30 years – to favor athleticism and results to development and talent. Though identifying talent is actually rather simple, or perhaps impossible to miss, we are probably still incapable of cultivating – with the right coaching that is – a Lionel Messi (too small), Xavi (too slow), or even a Zidane who developed quite late in comparison and whose game was 95 percent brain.

      I started playing my youth soccer over 30 years ago. The style – move the ball quickly, never lose it, sprint only when you have to – was marginalized in favor of the collective american tactic-less philosophy of get it to the wings, everyone run vertically, and whip in as many crosses as possible, then chase back and repeat. This is so dated but oddly still prevailing among youth teams, because it creates the appearance, to an uneducated audience, that one is trying to score.

      Imagine how the game would be played if there were no goals. This is how many countries teach the game to kids. Keep away, rondo, self-organized matches without goals… In France scores are not officially kept in youth games.

      I don’t see change happening quickly or radically enough in the US. At least not enough to keep up. What will it take? Probably people like Tab or Perez (Latin Americans) at every level. Or people with their sensibility. Which is to say a sea change. Personally I’ve accepted the reality that we’re inferior at this sport, and best at things like individual olympic events, women’s, or simply the games that we invented ourselves.

    • Johnnyrazor, yes that’s the article. I read it as a reprint in another paper and it didn’t have any links at that site. Thanks for finding it for anyone who is interested.

    • Thanks for the link. Brad Rothenberg: “Our Federation lost Jonathan either by its own arrogance, apathy or incompetence. You pick it.” This statement stood out to me. This is the same people who selected New Jersey for the Costa Rica WCQ match in a hot bed of Costa Rician immigration.

  2. I think what he’s referring to is the Alianza system that identifies top talent and invites them to free camps in the US were players are scouted by Liga Mx squads and players like JGone receive contract offers to play in Mexico. Remember FMF runs both LigaMx and the national team. JGone had already been with the US U14s, but wasn’t in the San Jose system. Of course, had he signed an MLS contract with SJ, he’d be sitting in the stands watching Tommy Thompson sitting on the bench.

    • Fair enough, but if the game is that MX teams get claws into scouted dual nationals and they then try a combination of encouragement and rebuffing our callups to secure the players for themselves……….what you do is bring them in on the international date when the team as a general rule can’t say no. I understand the “go along get along” reasons for not calling a playoff player deep in his season, but if the game is that Monterrey and MX are hand in glove, you stop exercising the courtesy and you demand their presence.

      These things are not usually a one-way street, it’s usually more like, we agree to leave player with club, club agrees to release for something at a friendlier timing that they could give us more grief about. If we backed off unilaterally and then MX pretends we didn’t care, then we needed to force Monterrey to say no, or call him up on a date they couldn’t.

      There is a reason we rush players like Pulisic into the field and cap tie them and it’s not necessarily “we think he’s the future.” Some of it is the you snooze you lose principle.

      • Even if we had called him in for Portugal it changes nothing. He still would have had the offer to play in the WC from Mexico and be able to file his one-time switch. The homegrown system limits MLS teams and limits the options of the players as well. It benefits kids in Dallas or NY where there good academies, if you live in an area where the academy is weaker or the clubs has the reputation of not playing young players you are stuck. In Alianza, the kids come for free, and then if good enough get multiple offers and they can choose who to sign with. Like most aspects of MLS its designed to promote parody and limit the amount of effort put in by the clubs.

  3. Someone should create a master list of Mexican-American dual players who have chosen one of the two countries. By my count, in terms of quantity, the US is far ahead. I don’t think Jonathan Gonzalez tips the “quality scale” all by himself.

    Did we lose out on a promising player? Sure, but who knows how his career will pan out. He could be the second coming of Rossi. Of course, I’d rather find that out with him wearing a USMNT jersey. But we may all have a good laugh about this panic in 5 years when JG is plying his trade in the Croatian Second Division or he’s making his third comeback from serious injury.

    • Yes, I agree it’s a little silly to suggest we can’t scout or are losing a ton of these 50/50 players. This is a player obvious to everyone, not missed by our scouts, who made a choice.

      That being said, I thought what little success the team had the past few years was built around a mediocre domestic core being supplemented by dual national players. Go look at that TnT roster and count the dual national Germans Arena ran out. Hmmm.

      I think we have a domestic development problem as our team matured and professionalized and the clubs gained the player rights and development power. They are not doing as good a job as Bradenton was. That was to some extent covered up by high success in winning 50/50 dual nationals.

      The implications if we start losing these more routinely should be obvious. We already missed a world cup fielding teams at the end of the cycle that were more MLS and less German. Lose a few more of these and come back to me and tell me it doesn’t matter.

    • Which Mexican-American’s have been contributors to the USMNT? Only ones I can think of are: Carlos Bocanegra, Huculez Gomez, Omar Gonzalez, Jose Torres, Edger Castillo, Joe Corona, Bornstein, Ventura Alvarado, & Jessie Gonzalez (tbd)

      Mexican-Americans that I remember choosing Mexico:
      Miguel Ponce (LB), Jonathan Gonzalez (tbd)

      Of those who played for the USA only Carlos (maybe Jessie Gonzalez) would have ever made the Mexican team. The rest would never have represented them at the Sr. Level. Ponce would have been a starter for the US for years…as Jonathan Gonzalez could have been.

  4. More reason we need a new USSF…to avoid people like “Gulati” that hate men side. cares only mexico & the “chicks”. We need to avoid SWJ President!

  5. This dutch man is threaten USA,the former director of TRI Justino Pompean,respect all the usa sistem,only when the players want,not pushing was okey,but they never care about
    it,the watch the mexican side and the coach the colombian juan carlos osorio,who were coach of Red Bulls,dont want the maturalized there is discrimination and are much better
    than many local player,i am 100 % mexican,but 1 always criticed the sistem.
    I hope the dutch fuck his mother a tousand times,and also osorio,Ramon ponce former
    american,now mexican,is sad because he did not wait thah conditiotion and the only other
    mexican the golkeepeer is playing whit “Lebrijes” and they promising richard Sanchez,he
    will take it to spain,his club nobody know it,and Jesse González que decided to stay whit the
    usamnt,like a good patriot ,soon will habe chance to play is what he whises,richard leaves in mexico and he knows the many ejecuted by crime,well and a disorder in my country,but
    1 am whit the USAMNT followers as a fan LONG LIVE USA

  6. “Te Kloese says that the FMF has a scouting network set up within the U.S.”
    We have only one. Thomas “Messi lacks high soccer iq” Rongen.

    • Let’s be real, though, you wouldn’t need a scouting network outside of Mexico to scout Gonzalez. You might want to talk to their family, but he plays in Mexico. As such referring to a US scouting network is a little superfluous to the example here. It has a hint of victory lap or warning about it, like, “expect more.”

      On another “c’mon” note, USA has historically scouted foreign dual nationals including people who don’t even play here. It is Mexico that cripples itself somewhat with a xenophobic hangup about naturalized players and coaches.

      The better argument would be that we are presently in a rudderless phase, and that while having a marquee name coach might be a magnet, right now we are probably neutral, repellent, or low-effort because we lack a real long term coach. Gonzalez was scouted and known by anyone who watches MX. The real issue was not scouting but recruitment and sealing the deal.

    • The FMF network is through Liga Mx clubs who have scouts and “informers” all over the States. I was a high school coach in a rural part of AZ and we had a Liga Mx scouts at out games to check out several players in out small league.

      Every day, the Liga Mx gets letters/emails from various family members who grew up watching their favorite Mexican team, about a player think should be looked at at their school, or on a local club team. When I was a coach, there was never interest at the high school level from MLS but instead we would contact or be contacted from colleges & university recruiters, and there is the difference. For some Latino families, the dream was playing for a beloved team, but for others it was getting a college scholarship.

  7. The USSF should end or increase the money Mexico pays for their friendlies here. I know it does not matter with TV, but at least take away another revenue stream.

    • SUM represents all games that Mexico plays in the US (that’s one of the reasons why they’ve been holding so many of their matches here). SUM will not be closing down that $$ pipeline any time soon.


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