This past Thursday, New England Revolution youngster Diego Fagundez started for Uruguay in the South American Under 20 Championship, which, under current FIFA rules, will permanently exclude him from suiting up for the United States Men’s National Team in the future . Many fans of the USMNT were hoping that the 19 year old would choose the US, a country he has lived in for most of his life, over Uruguay, the country in which he was born in. Fagundez has lit up Major League Soccer recently, scoring 22 goals and providing 18 assists in his 88 appearances, making him the most successful MLS Homegrown Player in the young history of the league . However, while Fagundez has applied for US citizenship, he has not yet obtained it, meaning that he will be ineligible to use the one-time nationality switch that FIFA allows, as he was not a US citizen at the time he played for the Uruguay U20s in a competitive match . Naturally, this has sparked discussion on the complexities of the United States’s immigration process, especially in the comment section of the article on the MLS website, MLSSoccer.com. In my opinion, someone who has been living in the country for 14 years should have a quicker path to citizenship, but unfortunately for Diego and fans of the USMNT, this is not currently the case. It will be interesting to follow him over the length of the tournament and see if he will make an appearance in the senior 2015 CONMEBOL Championships or the 2016 Copa America.
Photo courtesy of Nick Wass/AP