U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has had impressive success with convincing dual nationals to play for the USMNT, with Sergino Dest and now Yunus Musah the big additions to a stacked generation of young talent.
That success has given Berhalter plenty of confidence in how he handles recruitment, which might explain the confidence shown in his decision to advise LA Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez to go with the Mexican national team for its March friendlies so he could compare the setup with the USMNT, which he spent time with during the team’s December camp.
“I have spoken to him about it, and I advocated for him to go on with the Mexican team,” Berhalter said on Wednesday. “And the reason being is that he’s been in our environment and I think the only way for him to make an informed decision is to go into their environment.”
The 18-year-old Los Angeles-born midfielder has represented Mexico on the youth national team level on the U-17 and U-20 levels after having initially played for the United States on the U-15 level. His acceptance of a USMNT call-up in December revealed that he had yet to make a final national team decision, and while some took his acceptance of a Mexico call-up for the March friendlies as a sign that he had made a final decision, a source confirmed to SBI that Alvarez has yet to make a final national team decision.
Berhalter’s decision to advise Alvarez to join Mexico’s national team setup might seem like a risky proposition, but it is in line with how Berhalter has handled past dual national situations.
“We’ve always said that all we want to do is put the players in position to make the best possible decision they can make, and some players are going to choose for us and some players aren’t going to choose for us,” Berhalter said. “When you talk about the emotion of the decision, we want to take some of that emotion out of it by letting him have objective data of what the environments are like and being able to compare them.
“We wish him all the best in this camp. I’m sure I’ll follow up with him after the camp.”
Alvarez has been included in Mexico’s squad for upcoming friendlies in Europe against Costa Rica and Wales.