WeeFuse Is Angry- But Who Is To Blame?!
So. Freakin’. Angry.
Yesterday New England Revolution winger Diego Fagundez started for Uruguay’s U20 team in the 2015 South American Youth Championship and despite having lived in Leominster, MA since he was five years old, he will never suit up for any U.S. national team because:
- The South American Youth Championships serve as CONEMBOL’s Olympic qualification tournament, thus making them competitive matches, not “friendly” ones. Thus, Fagundez is “cap tied” going forward.
- Fagundez is not yet an American citizen (and won’t be until 2018) so he will not be able to make the one-time switch that FIFA allow’s players who are eligible for more than one nation. Or in plain English, while Fagundez is an American resident (he has a green card) he is not a citizen and therefore there is no second nation for him to switch to, there is no “second” country.
I am both disappointed and angered by this development. Yes, “we” have Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones representing “our” club on the international scene, but there was something really appealing about having “one of us,” a New Englander, potentially representing both club and region on the national team at some point and now that will not happen. Let us consider at whom I should direct my anger?
- Diego Fagundez: The only way to have avoided this unfortunate situation would have been for Fagundez to begin the citizenship process earlier, which he would have had to do in middle school- if not earlier. That’s a bit much to ask I think- he (or his family) were supposed to know that by the time he was 18 he’d be on the radar of two national teams? Furthermore, I’d hard to blame him for taking up Uruguay’s invitation given the complete lack of interest shown by the USMNT- see below.
- The New England Revolution: The club are little more than bystanders in this fiasco. Even if they knew how good he was going to become at such an early age they still would have had to convince his family of that and to act sooner. The only upside here is that Fagundez has been tearing up for Uruguay and that may signal a return to his 2013 form in 2015. Imagine that being added to the club that narrowly missed becoming MLS Cup winners last season.
- MLS: Blaming MLS is pretty much my default position on most things. In this case, much like the Revolution, I’m not sure what they could have done short of putting some pressure on Klinsmann and Ramos to wait for the home-grown, star-in-waiting, to become a citizen. That being said, I think we all know who has “hand” in the USMNT/Klinsman v. MLS/Garber relationship…
- Tab Ramos and Jurgen Klinsmann: Only a week or so ago Fagundez made it clear that neither Klinsmann, Ramos, or anyone else at U.S. Soccer/USMNT had been in touch with him about his future playing for the red, white, and blue. It was also clear that Fagundez was both hurt and confused by getting the could shoulder- and who could blame him? No, I did not expect anyone to promise Fagundez anything two plus years in advance, but couldn’t they have at least strung him along a bit? Look, I don’t have a solution here, I just find it unfathomable that the USMNT finds itself operating from such a position of strength that it can be so dismissive to potential players.
So that’s it.
I guess all I want now is or Fagundez to light up MLS next year so that Klinsmann’s replacement (did I say that out loud?) finds himself thinking, “Why didn’t Klinsmann want this kid?!”