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The latest on Sebastian Soto’s national team situation

A report out of Chile earlier this week suggested that U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team striker Sebastian Soto was all set to play for the Chilean national team, but that report has since been refuted amid a new report from Chile claiming that Soto has turned down a Chile call-up for its upcoming October World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Colombia.

According to Chilean outlet El Mercurio, Soto has turned down a Chile call-up after initially having accepted it. The report suggests that Soto’s advisors convinced him to pass up on the offer after initially accepting a call-up, though the report doesn’t rule out the possibility of Soto accepting a future Chile call-up.

Just how realistic it would have been for Soto to actually have played for Chile in October is in some doubt due to the fact Soto reportedly doesn’t have a Chilean passport yet, and a source tells SBI that Soto had not filed a Change of Association with U.S. Soccer, a necessary step to clear the way for him to play for Chile.

The 20-year-old has represented the U.S. Youth National Teams in the past, most notably scoring four goals for the Under-20 team at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Soto has since scored one goal in two appearances for the U-23 side but had yet to receive a call-up from the USMNT.

A source has confirmed to SBI that Berhalter has had communication with Soto, who is considered one of the better forward prospects in the USMNT pipeline, though his current club situation will need to improve after seeing his career stalled at Hannover 96 prior to his recent summer transfer to Norwich City.

Soto’s inability to secure a work permit to clear the way to play for Norwich City may be at the heart of Soto considering accepting a Chile call-up. In theory, if Soto could break into the Chilean squad and play in World Cup qualifiers it could potentially expedite the securing of a U.K. work permit, but that would mean Soto committing his international future to Chile, the country of his father’s birth, rather than the United States, where he was born and the country he has represented at the youth national team level.

FIFA recently passed changes to its rules regarding dual national players and their ability to avoid being cap-tied, but if Soto filed a Change of Association to play for Chile, he would become ineligible to play for the United States as soon as he played for Chile. If Soto filed a Change of Association to play for Chile, but failed to make an appearance, he could still switch back to the United States under FIFA’s new rules, but only after a four-year wait.

Reports out of Chile suggest that Rueda has been pushing hard to convince Soto to play for Chile, seeing him as a potential answer at striker for a national team light on established young forwards, but given how little playing time Soto has had on the club level in the past year, there’s no guarantee he would be able to break through and become a regular contributor for Chile.

Switching national team allegiances would also been parting with the group of players he came up with on the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team, a stacked group that included Sergino Dest, Tim Weah, Chris Richards, Konrad De La Fuente, Ulysses Llanez, Alex Mendez and Richard Ledezma. Soto has spoken in the past about the potential of that generation, and being a part of that group.

Whether Soto is serious about considering a national team switch remains to be seen, but there is no denying he is a talented prospect who could develop into a difference-maker on the international level.


  1. Tata is sniffing around Araujo (and Efrain, but he’s not been ours since U15) as well, who played in the winter game. I would have at least some pause on all the self righteous club snob dissing given that Chile like Mexico doesn’t suck and sees something in him. Chile may have holes to fill but you may also be a tad premature in writing him off. It’s not like he’s wandering off in a huff to play for Puerto Rico or Guam, they’re being courted by world class teams. He was in our program through the U20 tournament and even some U23 games. Oh but now that he’s looking around he sucks. Ignore the level of teams suggesting otherwise. Gotcha. Maybe I trust Tata and Rueda more than the guy who made one MLS final which was over in 15 flat as pancake opening minutes at home.

    • Llanez, Ledezma, Johan Gomez, Edwin Cerrillo, Alex Mendez,Araujo, Nico Carrera, Marco Farfan, David Ochoa. All players that I believe would have Mexican eligibility according an El Tri fan site. That’s just players with Mexican eligibility who have played in our youth set up. Saucedo would be another Aaron Herrera (Guatemala), Mihailovic (Serbia), technically DeLaTorre could play for Spain. From your favorite U20 squad Keita (Guinea), Weah (Liberia), Real (Brazil), Akinola (Canada), de la Fuente (Spain or Haiti). From the most recent U17s Danny Leyva, Gio Reyna, Busio, Saldana, Odunze (not sure his family has lived in a lot of places), Kayo, Bello, Deitz, Jasson, Ocampo-Chavez, Pepi, Hernandez-Foster all seem to have dual national eligibility if their Wikipedia pages are accurate. Then through in Gioacchini, and Cardosa who have gotten mentions from 3G and that’s a lot of bodies to push though the NT to cap tie and those are just ones who have represented YT at WCs and I know I’m missing some.

      • again, there were three dominant U20 players, soto, weah, and richards. weah has all the caps from them and pre-dates Berhalter with them. you rattling off a mix of somewhat interesting and boring ideas doesn’t change that. yes, we have a lot of prospects and quite a few who might pose dual nationality concerns. but soto was cream of that crop and perhaps those elite players should be fast tracked or most highly protected. like if someone wanted reyna. it is trivializing to compare the risk of losing the best prospects to the generalized battle for marginal talent. keita sucked. some of the others i have never heard of. those are different concerns than losing your prized farm club people.

  2. to be clear about where and when i feel like the mistake was made, right now is the business end of the cycle — though i am not sold we won’t need to tap into young players when we figure out where the old farts fit into the round robin pecking order of qualifying. it may not be where you would like, not based on losing to jamaica in a friendly, canada in a NL game, and losing to Mexico twice. but to be clear, the time to try kids was events like gold cup or friendlies the past 3 years while we instead gave players like roldan 15 appearances and lovitz 13 caps. or re-proved pulisic can play. there are maybe 4 players on the roster who should be penned into a list of 23. that’s 19 roster spots where the players don’t consistently — or ever — perform to the standard. so your theory seems to be they somehow locked themselves in as well even though their performances have them on the roster in pencil. and accumulating 15 caps. oooooook. if they have it all sorted where are the wins??

    • You keep telling everyone to stop thinking like it is 2014 but ignore that it’s not 2014 Mexico or 2014 Canada that they’re playing. Or that half our starting lineup was injured during those matches. The U20s couldn’t beat Ecuador’s U20s or Ukraine (of whom only the keeper has any NT keeps) so how are they going to beat Mexico. The U20s played one good match against France and a good half against Nigeria and you want to turn the keys over to them not because of their ability but because of their passport?

      • canada is on a slight upswing but lost to iceland this winter. and haiti last summer to exit gold cup. they have a couple players. but after all was said and done they were not regional top 5 and thus are in the playoffs. and it’s kind of laughable in our own upswing period with lots of talent to come in, to argue in terms of freaking canada. even making that comparison is embarrassing backsliding. we haven’t worried about canada since the 80s.

  3. Just to clarify, Seb is currently playing for Telstar, which is located in the second division of the Netherlands. He has never played in either Denmark or Switzerland. We do have a few wingers in Sabbi and Amon in Denmark and Haji Wright who just moved to Denmark from the Netherlands.

  4. I don’t understand the implication that we are failing at selling our brand to dual nationals. The number of senior-level NT players who have elected to play for another country over the last decade is almost non-existent compared to those who have chosen USMNT. Other than perhaps France, we probably have the highest “net gain” in the world at securing the commitment of senior-level dual nationals. Most recently, Berhalter/Stewart secured Dest’s commitment… who have we lost? Who are we even talking about? Jonathan Gonzalez? Fagundez? Are these even proper senior NT players? Outside of Subotic/Rossi situations (which weren’t recent), when have we failed here? Mostly we win these dual-eligible players without a fight these days, as we have done with Pulisic, Reyna, Weah (and many to come).
    The idea that our fringe prospects are considering other routes to achieving international success is a “sign of failure” is bizarre. It’s more like “welcome to the bigs”. This happens to all of the best teams in the world when their fringe players realize their prospects of experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime thing like a World Cup might be better served elsewhere. Ask Brazil. Ask Germany. Ask France. Ask the Dutch. Even England. Normal to find other countries sniffing around your fringe players.

      • you’re such euro snobs you don’t get that no less a club snob than klinsmann would call people from college, USL, reserve or youth teams. he knew you had to get stuck in early to win dual nationals. he also didn’t let “club form” or other coaches tell him what to think. if he saw a college player who could help, they got capped. and of those early calls, we have pulisic, we have morris, and the oft maligned green only scored on belgium and france. how horrible. no, he should have waited until their club coaches dutifully stamped their approval first. his job is not to think for himself. it’s to follow club coaches who never get relegated or fired. no, you are right. the kids should wait their turn dutifully behind lovitz roldan mihailovic bradley zardes and all the other dumb ideas. they should ignore the results the coach produces. they should dedicate themselves to a national team that doesn’t seem to know their phone number. that has written them off until 2026 cycle. and the US can be completely lazy about securing their services, and it’s the kids’ jobs to sit by the phone and stay loyal, while ignoring the other teams calling on that same phone while we wait. absurd.

      • johnny, what you are saying is a facile fib. when you call “ebobisse” or “lovitz” or “mihailovic” or “roldan” — and some of them as many as 15 times — you have spaces to dole out. all you have to do is say hmmm they played like crap last time and i could lock in cap tying a leading U20 player. it is about how much effort is wasted on veteran hasbeens, mediocre or even bad players, where they get more than just the one proverbial look and back in the pool. now, i grant that morris or pulisic have earned their slot. HOW MANY PLAYERS IS THAT TRUE OF? you seem to be talking about us like it’s 2014 and we just lost in overtime to belgium. your favorites around whom there is no room couldn’t beat canada, jamaica, mexico twice. i think there is plenty of room. but you’ve bought into 2014-era thinking where we are a winner and everyone plays well and you have to earn your way in. have you watched the games? there are very few players who have earned a thing. we win maybe half the time. there is soooo much room. and on some of these kids all you would need is add them as player 23 on the list and play them 10 minutes. bravo, you have an american. and as they accumulate the pool improves. is that so freaking hard? and if one doesn’t turn out, fine, but that gets decided when they are 23 and mature and not after their pro career barely started and you wanted to enforce merit at the expense of an exodus of players unimpressed with Berhalter and bored of waiting behind crap.

      • Ebobisse and Roldan are better than Soto. Lovitz who cares Soto doesn’t play LB so that’s irrelevant. I know this not because of the club they play for but because I watch them play. Might Soto be better in 5 years sure but he’s not today and giving up a spot to someone who might someday is a terrible idea. If he’s not willing to earn from his own quality of play he’s not someone with the grit to move the team forward.

    • no, you two lovers of the status quo are right, we are the reigning world champion, gold cup champion, scored 60 goals in 4 nations league group wins, and are winners of 50 straight home and away. the incumbents are who should be on the team, we are doing nothing wrong, and only losers exit. so just point me to the trophy room where i can see the haul of the dynasty of the past few years.

      • There are literally not enough spaces on rosters to keep everyone happy. The pool right now is far wider than it’s ever been (meaning more capable players) the question becomes how do you develop that talent and make the pool deeper (top players at higher levels not just more good players).

    • Just like fringe players for Germany opted to play for the USA in the past. I suspect some fringe players for the USA will chose other options if they are offered.

      Does anyone really think that any of the Germericans would have found a spot on the German national team?

      In the end most players who have a choice will opt to go with the best team that will have them.

      • Dennis– to your question of “Does anyone really think that any of the Germericans would have found a spot on the German national team?” is a bit lazy…. for starters, Jermaine Jones actually did find a spot on the German National Team, earned three caps for German NT.
        As for the others, I think most of them *at the time they made their decision to switch* actually had no reason to think they could not crack the Senior German NT. Julian Green was a 16 year old who had just played senior minutes for Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Hard to imagine he had already given up on making the Germany Team. JAB might have been at a less glamorous club (Hertha), but he was a top prospect at 17 years old who had previously refused interest from Bayern Munich Doubt any kid that age would have already given up on his international prospects anwywhere. And Fabian Johnson had played for Germany at every level of youth competition through U-20. These guys had plenty of reason to believe they could be selected by Germany!!!

      • my point is not whether Germany would still be interested, so to speak, as the player in question clearly has other options asking for him. my point is whether our response to players who have such competing options should be accelerated, and whether it can be fit in our rosters. i don’t buy there is no room on 23 man squads for friendlies to lock down players. you can’t leave off some struggling scrub once to secure soto?? and i disagree with the premise that the sole factor is readiness. the snobs like to talk about soccer as entirely meritocratic. but particularly in international soccer plenty of teams fast track key dual nationals to avoid having to worry about their loyalty. we did it with dest. and i would see soto as better than dest. so i don’t buy there is no room for soto but dest can be chained down early. dest is not ready. you’re pretending it’s an objective evaluation but this is really about behalter’s rather subjective opinions and the tepid results he has gotten with them thus far. to me there are other far more consensus star prospects he has slow walked. and some of them will pose dual nationality risks because not only is he misjudging their quality he is miscalculating his risk. johnny laughs it off but if you start losing enough good U20s then the bubble we thought we had coming up ain’t as deep as we hoped.

  5. there is otherr reporting that tata talked to araujo and efrain about playing for Mexico. to be fair, efrain has already been a youth mexican but araujo has been a soccer american. the vultures are circling. if we slow walk the prospects we will start getting chewed on.
    bluntly the fact we are having to fight to retain our own youth internationals already in the system is not a positive statement about the program. we should be attracting dual nationals. right now we are playing defense. if you don’t get the “stack” of prospects promptly involved they will start to consider other options. nor am i going to pretend that players like roldan and bradley and zardes and such are so awesome they should obviously be selected instead. i already think we are going to slow walk most of the prospects out of the 2022 cycle. you sit on it long enough you will begin to fritter away your prospect boom.

    • Currently Soto is playing in Denmark. His primary position is as a wide attacker, so his competition within the US Player Pool includes:
      Pulisic, Reyna, Uli, Weah, De La Fuente, Boyd, Morris, etc…
      All but Morris are playing at a higher level league than Soto, and MLS is at least equal to the Danish league.
      If you’re considering him for a CF…he’s still competing with players in leagues equal to or better than the Danish League:
      Sargent, Zardes, Morris, Jozy, Novak, Gioacchini, ArJo, Siebatcheu, etc….
      Realistically while still a viable prospect for the US, he’s not exactly jumping to the head of the class at the positions he plays.

      • I think you might have Soto confused with someone else. He’s a CF. His two winger appearances for Hannover were late subs where he replaced wings in the final minutes as they pushed for goals.
        I’d say your forward list is pretty accurate although I wouldn’t include Siebatcheu. He’s now in Switzerland and has never had any consistency at the full level. His agent drops hints that he might someday be interested but never seems to do anything about it. Akinola might be moving ahead of him too. If Ayo can stay healthy, he was rated above Soto before his two years of injury and would have made U20 roster if not for injury. You have Dike at Orlando City and Pepi coming on as well. For that matter Ferreira’s style of play is probably better suited as well even if he’s having a down year.
        If all he’s looking for is a free ticket to the top I’m not worried because that tells me he’s not willing to do the work to become good enough. If he’s willing to do the work and earn his way by working on his game he still has a chance.

    • forgot he was bought by by Norich and loaned to Telstar….but the argument still stands until he steps up his level of competition he’s still down the pecking order.

    • As you said Efra has been in the Mexico Youth System for the last few years. Gregg has been talking to him too. Tata having been a manager in MLS doesn’t have any prejudices against Mexican eligible players in MLS so he should be talking to his star from their U17 squad who is playing regularly. Araujo has been in the US system but has always talked about interest in playing for Mexico and family connections to Mexico. Gregg brought him in in January, and he was said to be one of the players Hudson was building the U20 qualifying squad around. Bottom line is anyone is free to talk with dual nationals at anytime. The US talks to guys all the time. Araujo is 19 and should be behind Cannon who is 22 and Dest who is 19, then you’d have Kyle Duncan whose 23 in the mix, and Bryan Reynolds whose also 19. That’s not even counting Yedlin who still has a few good years left although talked about perhaps retiring from NT play. Araujo has a lot of competition close in age to him so it’s not surprising he’s keeping his options open.

    • curious if any of you folks understand the concept of cap tying. that we lock in players now then figure out later whether they are ready. that MNT is not just a pure meritocracy for the amusement of people who like invisible hands, but can also be a device for securing services of players so they stay in the pool. i actually approve of locking down dest-type players ahead of schedule. and i think long term securing commitments from many dual nationals — as we did under klinsi — benefits the program with increased participation and quality. you’re talking mess like pure merit but then ignoring that if some of them turn out good your approach has the net effect of weakening the pool. it basically turns into Arena’s “loyalty test” situation where he left off sectors of the pool out of loyalty questions, which most of us in retrospect see as stupid. all i am saying is apply the same principle to prospects. and i am not saying just anyone. i am talking the leading U20s. the kids your system determined to be the best prospects. as of last year soto was one of them. treat him like it. instead what i see is the absurdity of GB selecting kids who got cut for U20. and then some U20s threatening to walk. and you can make yourself feel better dissing their loyalty or quality, but in enough bulk they would be saying something about the future they see and the loyalty they feel.

      • also maybe people could admit that objectively what we are looking at is older players past the hill, a few mediocre veterans, and then a big hole where the nagbe generation was supposed to develop and never did. we didn’t qualify last time and haven’t impressed me in years. curious where the heck the veteran/incumbency bias is even founded anymore. that was historically based on repeat qualifying and regional success. yes, you don’t “break up” a playoff team. but the situation right now is “zardes” or “bradley” are what passes for veteran talent, and all the quality is in the mckennie steffen pulisic morris reyna end of the pool. i would rather push towards finding more kids like that than pretend bout zardes and bradley and jozy still having it. the results don’t suggest they have much of anything.

      • Players aren’t idiots they aren’t going to except call ups just to tie them in place and with the new rules they could except a call up as a teenager and still back out of it if they don’t play for four years right? So play for the US as a 18 yr old and then represent El Tri when you’re actually good.

      • you’re “lawyering” me. legally they could leave. i am curious how many actual players we have ever lost to other national teams on a one time switch after getting them capped. if it’s not zero it’s very low. so you are confusing the legalities with the practical reality that most if not all of the time we cap someone, problem over. i would handle my selection accordingly. i think 10-30 minutes with the senior team does it, and then over time you see what you actually have.

      • dest is literally the only player i ever remember suggesting he might take a cap for us and then trial other teams as well. i actually found him even saying that disqualifying. i don’t want a shopping player. i want a committed one. but if they tell me if i play them they will be loyal for good, that’s enough. i think y’all snobs since you love players transferring to big clubs always think of everything as transactional and decided by ambition. and freedom within the bounds of the law. well, i think most US candidates would be tickled pink to be selected and would commit for life. i think literally the only way we can screw it up and be stuck in LegalLand is not call them at all. then, yeah, is Canada interested? Guam? Puerto Rico? and with the quality of this bunch, Mexico, Chile, etc.

  6. Huh. if nothing else, sounds like Sebastian has been fielding a few phone calls since the news broke. No reason you can’t think this one over, kid.


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