[7UP SUENO ALIANZA] Jonathan Gonzalez received invitations from 14 Mexican Liga MX clubs, and the Mexican Federation, to go on trial after his performances in three games at the 7Up Sueno Alianza National Finals. The 14-year-old Santa Rosa, Calif., product, who has been a member of the U.S. U-14 national team, was among 27 of the 46 Alianza finalists who received invites from Mexican clubs.
Illinois’ Luis Angel Arreola (age 14) received 11 invites while Ramon Mitchell Ceja (15) of Nevada was the third most coveted player with nine invites.
“I’ll have to take some time to think it all over and decide what the best path is,” said Gonzalez, who has been playing club ball at Atletico Santa Rosa.
Gonzalez’s father Alonso, who emigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico, at age 18, says Jonathan’s dream is to play for the U.S. national team.
“I’ll support him 100 percent in whatever direction he wants to go,” said Alonso. “He loves America and wants to play for the USA.”
The trials offered by the Mexican clubs usually consist of 10-day to two-week stints in their youth Academies.
“They stay in our residency, expenses are taken care of, and after 10, 11 days, if they're good, we ask them to stay,” said Gabriel Montoya of Atlas, which has Arizona’s Mark Sanchez in its youth academy since last February after discovering him at the Alianza open tryouts.
Alonso, who works as a landscaper on Sonoma State’s sports fields, said Jonathan has been playing soccer since he could walk.
“I set up a little goal in the living room,” he said. “And Jonathan would dribble around and shoot into it. We live in a cul de sac, so he was always playing there, juggling. I coached him until until he was 8, but at that time I realized he would benefit more from having coaches besides his father.”
Clubs courting Gonzalez include Mexico’s last four defending champions: Club America, Tijuana Xolos, Santos Laguna and Tigres, as well as both Chivas USA and Chivas Guadalajara. His Atletico Santa Rosa teammate, Kristoc Camacho, received six invites.
The National Finals in Carson, Calif., capped the Alianza series of tryouts in 11 cities attended by 7,000 players. Alianza’s U-15 and U-19 teams each played three games at the StubHub center, including final day matches against Tijuana Xolos’ Academy teams. The Alianza’s U-15s won, 2-1, with both goals by Aaron Esai Alvarez of Laredo, Texas. Alianza’s U-19s fell, 1-0, to the Tijuana counterparts.