U.S. youth international Jonathan Gonzalez continues to be followed very closely by Mexico with an eye to calling him up for the Jan. 31 friendly against Bosnia & Herzegovina, according to a report by ESPN Mexico’s Ivan Canada.
The 18-year-old dual national midfielder Gonzalez has been with the U.S. national team since under-14 level. If the player does opt for Mexico, Gonzalez would have to file for a one-time switch with FIFA, confirmed U.S. Soccer to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, which would bind him permanently to El Tri.
A high ranking member of the Mexican federation traveled to California to talk to Gonzalez and his family during the midfielder’s brief preseason break, while Osorio has recently spoken to the player on the phone about his decision, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN FC.
Gonzalez enjoyed a breakout season with Liga MX side Monterrey, reaching the final of the 2017 Apertura and winning the Copa MX.
Gonzalez had been expected to suit up for the United States and had been on former coach Bruce Arena’s radar, but the Californian wasn’t called into temporary coach Dave Sarachan’s U.S. squad to face Portugal last November.
“I wasn’t called in, in November,” Gonzalez said in an interview with Soccer America. “Personally, nobody came and talked to me and let me know about that friendly. I just wasn’t called in.”
The United States also play Bosnia & Herzegovina on Jan. 28, but the game is on a Sunday and Liga MX-based players are rarely involved in the Stars and Stripes’ January camps. Monterrey has a match against Chivas on Jan. 27 and would be unlikely to allow a regular starter to go on international duty in order to miss the game.
Mexico plans to pounce on the opportunity, according to the report, to see if Gonzalez can be tempted to play for El Tri as it prepares for Russia 2018. The United States didn’t qualify for the World Cup.
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has said he likes Gonzalez and he is an option for January, but was adamant that the midfielder would have to battle it out for a spot in the squad like any other player.
Gonzalez moved to Monterrey when he was 14 years old and made his way up the club’s youth system. He was named in the Liga MX’s official Best XI for the 2017 Apertura after winning a starting spot and keeping it all tournament.