After months of struggle, head coach Tata Martino confirmed LA Galaxy player Efrain Alvarez has committed solely to the Mexican national team.
Alvarez possesses Mexican and American citizenship, enabling the player to choose between the two national teams for international competitions. Both Martino and USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter actively fought over the young forward before he made his decision.
During his conversation with the Los Angeles Times (via MLS official website), Martino commented on the player’s status and recent form. Prior to the comment, the forward’s international future remained very much in question.
“Efraín is 100 percent committed to Mexico. There is no doubt about that anymore. Álvarez is a footballer that I have been watching for a long time and that is why he already made his debut in a friendly and he will be seeing more minutes in the next games. He is among the young players that are the future of the Mexican national team,” he added.
The United States men’s national team chased after the young player for a long period of time. Head coach Gregg Berhalter mentioned on a few occasions that Alvarez possessed the qualities of a successful footballer. He previously featured for the US Under-15 team and joined the senior team for training camp, but it was not enough to convince the player. Despite efforts, Alvarez made his decision and remains secure with his choice.
“Honestly I feel happy with my decision. I have always been proud of my Mexican roots and to be called to the national team. This is what you aspire as a young footballer and if everything goes right I will be playing in the Gold Cup with Mexico next month. My first dream came true [to debut with Mexico] and my second one is to play in the Gold Cup,” said Álvarez to TUDN.
The announcement comes after Martino included Efrain Alvarez in Mexico’s provisional Gold Cup roster. Recently, Efrain’s participation in the tournament became more probable as fellow Major League Soccer players Rodolfo Pizarro and Alan Pulido remain in question after sustaining mild injuries. His involvement in LA Galaxy’s Major League Soccer success has also played to his benefit. This is Alvarez’s third season with the team but the first time he has thrived individually.