Jonathan Gonzalez: 'The decision I've made has been profoundly difficult'

Monterrey's 18-year-old midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez confirmed on Tuesday he is leaving the U.S. national team program to play for Mexico, a move he termed "perhaps the most important moment" of his career so far.

Gonzalez's future with the USA for which he had played in 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship has been a matter of speculation since the USA failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and he was not picked for the U.S. friendly against Portugal in November.

It followed a breakout season at Monterrey, which Gonzalez helped reach the Liga MX final as No 1 seed and win the Copa MX. He was named to the Liga MX Best XI, quite an accomplishment for a player so young in a league dominated by veterans.

Gonzalez, whose parents are Mexican, made the decision after Dennis te Kloese, the director of Mexico's national teams who has worked for years recruiting Mexican-American players for Mexican clubs and national teams, visited Gonzalez at his home in Santa Rosa, California, over the holidays.

While Gonzalez played for the USA in Concacaf qualifying, he did not go the U-20 World Cup finals in South Korea. He would not have been tied permanently to the USA until he played for it at the senior level in an official match, which wouldn't have been until the fall of 2018 at the earliest.

He wasn't picked for the Portugal-USA friendly in November. Gonzalez told Soccer America's Mike Woitalla in late December: "I wasn’t called in, in November. Personally, nobody came and talked to me and let me know about that friendly. I just wasn’t called in."

About a possible switch, Gonzalez told Soccer America: "At the moment, I really haven’t thought of it much. I focused on my club because of the finals and all of that."

Gonzalez is believed to have made the decision after he returned to Monterrey for the Torneo Clausura, which began last weekend. He said on Tuesday: "The decision I've made has been profoundly difficult."

In his statement on Tuesday, Gonzalez added:

“Four years ago, I arrived in Mexico with the dream of playing soccer professionally, something that I have accomplished with a lot of hard work, dedication and above everything else, with the support of my family. It is not easy to leave the country in which one is born. However, Mexico is also my home as it is the country where my parents were born and, consequently, where my roots originate.”
12 comments about "Jonathan Gonzalez: 'The decision I've made has been profoundly difficult'".
  1. Richard T. Lynch, January 9, 2018 at 9:27 p.m.

    Nice.  Home is in America but he will commute to play for Mexico.  Doesn't sound like this kid is "Mexican" at all so why do it.  Pure expedience.  Also, no loyalty for welcoming his Mexican immigrant parents to this country and raising their kid here.  A shame.  I have the same issue with Klinsman's Germans coming to play here.  Not right.  I am sure some will say the kid should be free to play whereever he wants but where is the patriotism for the country he was born and grown up in.  Good luck to him.  I wonder which country, over the years, will he now see as his true "home" country?  That is whom he should play for.

  2. Ginger Peeler replied, January 10, 2018 at 4:57 p.m.

    Richard, the wonderful thing about Soccer America is that you’re dealing with a lot of people who love the game. Most of them follow it closely. Your prejudice is showing when you make statements without “due diligence “. Jonathan moved to Mexico 4 YEARS AGO when he was 14. He left his home and family in California to do so. He has worked very hard in the Monterrey youth teams, and with the primary team, last season. He has dual citizenship with both the USA and Mexico. And you feel he is obliged to play for the US to show his parents’ appreciation for letting them move to and live in California? Unless you’re a Native American, we’re ALL children of immigrants. At 18 years old, he was named one of the top 11 players in his league! I get the impression that nobody from US Soccer contacted and congratulated him. They’ve been sidetracked and focusing mostly on the upcoming election. An egregious oversight on their part. I sincerely hope that whoever the new president is, one of his/her first moves will be to try to get Hugo Perez back in the fold as a coach, scout, all the things he used to do before Jurgen let him go. But, please, next time, do a little research before you jump in with both feet. 

  3. Wooden Ships replied, January 10, 2018 at 7:19 p.m.

    Thanks Ginger (mic drop). Germans? Our soldiers sons they are.

  4. Mario Cesarone, January 9, 2018 at 10:41 p.m.

    He wants to go to the World Cup period.

  5. Toby Rappolt, January 10, 2018 at 2:32 a.m.

    You’re right Mario. Why would he want to represent a third world soccer country not going to the WC when he could possibly represent a second world soccer country going to the WC? 

    I sure the hell wouldn’t play for us and I voted for Donald. 

    They send Thomas Rongren to a Latino
    home to recruit a Latino? What? Whoever screwed this up at US Soccer should be fired. 

  6. frank schoon replied, January 13, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

    Maybe, they should have send Tab Ramos...does he qualify for your taste to be Latino?

  7. John Soares, January 10, 2018 at 12:12 p.m.

    AH.....America. Freedom of choice. What he did is well within the rules of soccer. Win some lose some....and hopefully learn from the experience.

  8. Lonaka K, January 10, 2018 at 2:25 p.m.

    Not surprising US Soccer screwed up.  The way they treate this kid by putting him on all of the YNTs and then not to secure his loyolaty to the senior national team.  This is purely dumb. I think Ramos is probably the last one that missed the boat. 

  9. Ric Fonseca, January 10, 2018 at 11:33 p.m.

    I've now read three comments on Jon's decision to play for EL TRI and I must say that the three are short of just plain being in denial. Ronge'ns assertion that his - Jon's - father is "too" or "very" Mexican, hence tht's why Jon selected Mexico. Ramos says he knows that Jon was contacted and more than perhaps anyone else, knows Jon better than most, and then we have the interim head honcho Sarachan says he spoke to him prior to the Portugal friendly. And yet still Ramos implies that Jon must've "felt Mexican" to have selected Mexico. To these three gurus, a pox on your house, first one doesn't "feel" Mexican or German or Japanese, rather one IS Mexican, German or Japanese.  Hell, as a naturalized US citizen, I also hold dual citizenship and for those of you who don't know, both of my children can obrain Mexican nationality by virtue of my having been born in Mexico.
    One represents the country that selects him/her, jeepers, I don't recall many voices raised when the Italian American player (jeez, forgot his name) opted to stay in Italia and played in Serie A - and so I wonder if anyone asked him if he felt Italian...
    As early as 1977 I wrote an article for a local Spanish language newspaper decrying the mere fact that even then the USSF and the then Pro League, did not kept its promise to be more inclusive and yet here we are almost one half century still speaking about it. Hell Rongen, Ramos and Sarachan are nice guys, but CARAJO! they must take their blinders off, especially Ramos whou ought to know better, Sarachan is still learning, and Rongen is just continuing to be the "babe in the soccer woods" when he'hired to be a scout.  And then there is the Alianza group.... oh heck another subject for another day.  Meantime, all the very best to Jonathan MUCHISIMA SUERTE CON EL TRI, Y SI A LOS GRINGOS NO LES CAYO BIEN TU DECISION, QUE SE VAYAN AL.....  !

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, January 11, 2018 at 12:14 a.m.

    I am with Ric and Ginger. Last I checked it still was a free country. I regret Jon's leaving the program, but fully support his decision. 

    The last thing I want to see is a young player, of any background, cap-tied and then forgotten. No else has mentioned it, but that is the image problem USSF needs to not just change, but destroy. USSF is getting more insular every year while it needs to be inclusive.  

  11. Ginger Peeler replied, January 11, 2018 at 7:11 a.m.

    Giuseppe Rossi was the Italian American who chose to play for Italy instead of the US. There were lots of people complaining about his choice, too. Even though he had moved, with his dad, to Italy when he was around 12 years old!  I don’t remember if he ever even played on the senior USMNT. Whatever, somebody, or multiple somebodies, dropped the ball by failing to stay in touch with Jonathan. Instead of passing the buck, somebody in charge needs to step up, accept the responsibility, and say,”Fhis is what US Soccer will do to try to prevent this from happening again.”

  12. Wooden Ships replied, January 11, 2018 at 8:05 a.m.

    Unfortunately Ginger I don’t think we have that leadership. Perhaps with the election next month we will have a soccer savvy organizational change. I was once a General Manager of a team, and when first mentioned regarding the National teams the individual(s) could be integral going forward. 

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