[AMERICANS ABROAD] Scottish club Celtic has announced that Adrian Ruelas, a member of the U.S. under-20 national team, will join the club as part of exchange program with Ruelas' Mexican club, Santos.
Ruelas, who scored three goals for the USA en route to its Milk Cup championship over the summer, was described as "an exceptional talent" by a spokesperson at Celtic, which reiterated that no formal agreement for Ruelas' transfer (loan or permanent deal) was reached.
The 6-foot-2 Ruelas would need to obtain a work permit to play in Scotland. Celtic's backup keeper, Dom Cervi, is American. The former University of Tulsa star was able to obtain an Italian passport that allows him to work in Scotland.
Ruelas will join Mexican World Cup player Efrain Juarez at Celtic. Juarez was able to obtain a work permit because of his record of participation on the Mexican national team.
Ruelas has represented both Mexico and the USA at the youth level. He was born in Fontana, Calif., and played in the Chivas USA academy program before heading to Santos in 2006.
He told the Mexican sports daily Record he is more Mexican than American but he has felt "very comfortable" since joining the U.S. under-20 national team this summer at a camp in San Jose.
He said it was a blessing that he had not been recalled by Mexico as it made him work that much harder.
He is one of dozens of Mexican-Americans who have crossed the border and joined the youth programs at Mexican pro clubs. And he is one of several players who have played for both Mexican and U.S. youth teams.
U.S. Soccer has this year aggressively pursued Mexican-based players like Ruelas for the U-20 national team.