Hugo Perez joins Mexican federation as youth national team scout

The Mexican federation (FMF) held a boys national team ID camp for 2004-born Mexican-American players in California last weekend and has hired former U.S. youth national team coach Hugo Perez  as a USA-based scout.

Perez, a U.S. National Hall of Famer who played for the USA at the 1984 Olympics and 1994 World Cup, coached U.S. U-14 and U-15 national teams that included Christian Pulisic, Jonathan Gonzalez, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. He also served as a U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor for California and the Northwest until he was let go in 2014.

"I'm doing this because I want the kids to have opportunities," Perez said. "It has nothing to do with me being upset with U.S. Soccer. In the end, the families are the ones who make the choice. I just want them to have more than one choice. If one national team doesn't want them, maybe the other one does. For me the most important thing is providing opportunities."

Perez immigrated to the USA from El Salvador at age 11, was eligible to play for either nation, and chose the USA, which he also helped qualify for the 1988 Olympics and 1990 World Cup. His move to the FMF, for which he will scout Mexican-American talent, comes as the Mexican national team is ramping up its recruitment north of the border. On the last weekend of September, the FMF held a youth national team camp in Southern California in conjunction with Sueno Alianza de Futbol Hispano National Showcase event. Perez coached the Alianza all-stars against Mexico.

Mexico (2004s) national team ID camp
Ontario, California (Sept. 26-30)
Sebastián Ricardo Rincón (LA Breakers FC)
Max Viera (Chicago Fire)
Jesús Carrillo (Silicon Valley SA)
Gerardo Ambriz (Barca Academy)
Ronaldo Guadarrama (Barca Academy)
Samuel Mendoza (Barca Academy)
Anthony Adrián Guzmán (Lamorinda SC)
Pedro Gabriel Prieto Grajeda (Soccer With a Purpose/LA)
Mark González (Santa Cruz Breakers)
Erick Rincón (South Valley Chivas)
Abraham Ramírez (FC Golden State)
Jaziel Orozco (Real Salt Lake)
Jason Andrew Moreno (LA Breakers FC)
Michael Hernández (LA Breakers FC)
Miguel Ángel Ávalos (Pachuca)
Brian Parra (San Juan Club)
Damien Fuentes (Pateadores)
JoJo Bustamante (Pateadores)

The FMF's courting of Mexican-American talent was spurred by a 1998 Mexican law change that enabled U.S.-born Mexican-Americans to obtain Mexican citizenship. This granted Mexican-Americans rights such as the owning property in Mexico, inheriting property and voting in Mexican elections. It also changed the soccer world on both sides of the border. The citizenship measure, combined with the rise of the U.S. game, spurred aggressive scouting of U.S. youth by Mexican clubs.

In the mid-2000s, Edgar Castillo and Jose Francisco Torres ended up playing for the USA. In 2018, Gonzalez, a California teenager, made a permanent switch to Mexico after playing for the USA's youth national teams from U-14s to U-20s. The current generation includes the LA Galaxy-bred trio of Efrain Alvarez (who is playing for Mexico's U-17s), and U.S. 2019 U-20 World Cup players Uly Llanez and Alex Mendez. A player like Alvarez is still allowed by FIFA regulations to make a switch to the USA. By bringing Mexican-Americans into Mexican youth national team camps, they'll become aware that even if they play for the USA, they would still be eligible to make a one-time switch to Mexico, which will be tracking their progress.

Jorge Tello Hernandez, the Mexican national team program's head scout, says the potential of Alvarez, Llanez and Mendez motivates the FMF to continue making connections with Mexican-American talent. They also demonstrate the American clubs' improved development programs. So even though USA-bred players cannot officially join a Mexican club until the age of 18, because of FIFA's transfer of minors regulations, the FMF has faith in their progress while staying with U.S. clubs such as the Galaxy.

"Every year the gap between U.S. clubs' youth programs and Mexico's is closing," Hernandez said. "The structure is improving, the organization is improving, and most important is the mentality of the Mexican-American players."

Hernandez admires the determination of Mexican-American players.

"They have a better attitude, and more confidence," he said. "If you tell a Mexican-American player he's going to be the best player, he believes you. If you tell that to a Mexican player, they'll say 'Really?' It's a cultural difference and in the USA you have a winning mentality. It is not easy to find that confidence in a Mexican player. The Mexican-American players have the determination, which maybe we can find here [in the USA], bring to our group, and it spreads."

Miguel Avalos (No. 10) of Santa Rosa, California, was called up by Mexico's U-15s after being spotted at Sueno Alianza 2018. This year he was part of Mexico's squad that played against the Alianza Select team, which included Angel Iniguez (No. 29) of Daly City, California.

When Mexico beat the USA, 2-1, in the final of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship that sent both teams to the 2019 U-17 World Cup that kicks off in October, Alvarez and El Paso, Texas, product Santiago Munoz (who moved to Santos after being discovered at 2017 Sueno Alianza) lined up for El Tri. Mexican-Americans in the U.S. lineup included FC Dallas' Ricardo Pepi, who had spent time with Mexico's U-16s in 2018. Another Texan, defender Nico Carrera, traveled to Japan with Mexico's U-17s last July, but afterward joined the U.S. U-17s, including for a 2-1 friendly win over Mexico in the Netherlands in early September. Carrera is poised to play for the USA at the 2019 U-17 World Cup.

"There's a lot of talent out there," Perez said. "It has to do with where you find them, what your contacts are, and how you're going to treat them."

32 comments about "Hugo Perez joins Mexican federation as youth national team scout".
  1. Bob Ashpole, September 30, 2019 at 11:57 p.m.

    I blame someone for this situation, but it isn't Hugo Perez. 

    I swear if I hear another person say that a player is "too small" for elite soccer, I will scream. USSF isn't prejudiced against Hispanics. It is prejudiced against Latin soccer culture. USSF aspires to play like Germany did 20 years ago. Germany realized long ago that there is a better way to play. I wish USSF did.

  2. humble 1 replied, October 1, 2019 at 12:06 p.m.

    I like to watch Napoli these days, where they have the most diminutive of the diminutive Dries Mertens, who was rejected even in Belgium for his size.  Now they have 'Chucky' Lozano and boy does he look cookie-cutter sharp.  Every time 'Chucky' enters, I am reminded of how his career has evolved vs. the career of Matt Miazga, after the 'shorty' insult Miazga directed at him a year ago.  Karma, no? 

  3. Ric Fonseca replied, October 1, 2019 at 11:03 p.m.

    Bob, many years ago, specifically at the beginning of the decade of the '80s my experienced on and off the field were shocking, this "problem" was always, and I mean ALWAYS on coaches's radars, and I even remember hearing a prominent USSF Coach, say that there are "too many scrubs" in this part of the country.  Hugo Perez among others were in our "radar" as prime examples, however, it took the support and suggestion of a future NT HC, to have us form the - sadly now "extinct" Latin American Soccer Coaches Associatikon (LASCA).  Try as we did, we did make some inroads, but as evidenced above, LASCA is but ia fond memory, but as many of us age and fade, we're still saying over and over SI SE PUEDE!!!  And to HUGO, FELICIDADES Y MUCHA SUERTE!!! 

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, October 2, 2019 at 12:20 a.m.

    Wow. I have to reconsider what I said. Forbidding the Spanish language is the essence of prejudice against Hispanics. 

    I believe that immigrants should learn to speak English just as they should learn about our values and system of government. I don't not believe in requiring immigrants to forget their roots. I certainly haven't forgotten mine.

  5. R2 Dad, October 1, 2019 at 12:59 a.m.

    I'm happy for HP--he's the right guy for El Tri to drill further into the California player pool. I can't imagine the Mexican FA will treat him worse than the USSF, even though he's not Mexican.

    Truthfully, this is just idiocy. USSF had the chance to bridge the cultural divide with Hugo in the Nats system, but they decided to double down on old white guy culture. No worries, though. There are boatloads of talented kids who've grown up in California, well-fed and safe from the poverty and depravations of central america, lots of talent--Hugo knows where to look.  Jonathan Gonzales is the tip of the iceberg.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the Mexican FA poach some of the central valley Hispanic referees as well--they are very good. 

  6. frank schoon, October 1, 2019 at 9:55 a.m.

    I wish Hugo all the luck and success and it's too bad the USSF is unable to use his experience. Furthermore ,I wish Hugo would come out and TOTALLY let it all hang out on what he thinks of the USSF and what should be improved with this organization. Let's put it all too rest for I keep reading continuous comments ad infinitum from everybody which are very negative (probably justified) from the readers over the years. But I like to hear it once and for all about anything, the negativity, whatever it is ,from the horses mouth for a change. Hugo is someone who is hispanic and who has been involved in the USSF system, who played for USMNT and has coached and has been invovelved in our soccer.
    But unfortunately he's been very reticent to say anything but now ,I think, it is about TIME!!!!! Something needs to be SAID! I sense a swell of grown disappointment and criticism among many, in which I include myself, and we need someone to pop the balloon or let some air out to give credence to this swell. I think HUGO needs to step ,if anything, for the good of soccer here.
    Now this doesn't mean Hugo is the answer to our problems but at least he could answer some of the often expounded criticism that deals with the Hispanic/ style, etc situation as well as perhaps some solutions.....

  7. humble 1 replied, October 1, 2019 at 11:56 a.m.

    Glenn Crooks had Hugo on Coaching Academy on Sirius XM FC recently, within the last four weeks - but - it's no longer up on the site.  One very interesting comment by Hugo during that interview - the connection was poor - his voice was very scratchy - but he was in rare form - restrained like usual - but probably already working his Mexican gig you read about above.  I've heard him interviewed before - he is guarded as you say - but he did interject a very intersting anecdote that I'd never heard before over the top of a question Glen asked so I know it was something he wanted 'heard'.  He said 'I was warned twice while work at a National Team coach for speaking Spanish on sidelines by officials from USSF.'  This speaks volumes.  and it fits into something that a friend of mine predicted.  When Klinsmann took over in 2011 I was working with a Mexican-American dude on a project.   He told me - 'watch, you will see a cleansing of the latinos from the USSF - that's what I'm hearing.  He told me - 'a lot of work has been done over the past years to build up the connections to the latino community - but this new guy is going to tear it all down'.  Chavez was an early casualty, but it was a 'cleaning'.  Remember, that in 2014 USA sends a team with one Mexican-American Gonzalez and seven German-Americans to Brazil?  I believe the Mexican in 2014 Brazil had several players born in the USA.  Interesting, no?    

  8. frank schoon replied, October 1, 2019 at 1:26 p.m.

    Humble 1, I got your point, fine. But if that's the only point he comes up with, that USSF prefers you not to speak Spanish but English that's not a winner to me. I can see USSF coming up with that restriction unless the player is unable to understand English or very little.

  9. frank schoon replied, October 1, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Humble1, on those born in America and played for Mexico in "14, how long did they live in the US or where did they really learn to play their game, in the US or Mexico as kid.....

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, October 2, 2019 at 12:12 a.m.

    Frank, I see it differently. Spanish is a beautiful language. The closest English comes is a classic North Carolina accent.

    USSF should be focused on what coaches say rather than what language they use. This focus on language is pure form over substance, the sign of a petty mind.

    If the freedom of speech doesn't include the freedom to use a person's choice of language to express themselves, then it means nothing. What next? Ban poetry in written in Spanish, and rename Los Angeles, El Paso, and St. Augustine? Require Univision to broadcast all shows in English? Let's get rid of Native American names too, like Mississippi, Michigan, and the Dakotas. 

    Form over substance.

  11. frank schoon replied, October 2, 2019 at 6:40 a.m.

    Bob, I don’t care whether it is Spanish or Swedish  or how beautiful the language sounds , I spoke Dutch at home but spoke English when outside of the home. And if along the sidelines ,one of his players is Hispanic but can talk English than I think HP should be conversing in English to him not Spanish, unless it is in a private setting. I think the whole issue is nonsensical, for it shows the micromanagement, the bureaucratic mentality of the USSF. Instead they should worry about improving the quality of soccer ...

  12. frank schoon replied, October 2, 2019 at 6:54 a.m.

    Bob, furthermore HP should speak English to an Hispanic along the sidelines for his suggestions ,whether tactical instructions, tips, should be heard by his other non-Hispanic players to learn from, for the instructions could have positive benefits. But speaking in Spanish certainly would not benefit the non-Hispanics .

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, October 2, 2019 at 7:24 a.m.

    Frank, over the years I found understanding enough Spanish to know what is being communicated by opponents during a match to be useful. As a coach, I found that a friendly demonstration of fluency in Spanish by one of my players before the match was useful too. I have seen referees begin their man management by a friendly demonstration of fluency before hand.

    I am not saying language skills are necessary to participate, just that it is a plus.    

  14. frank schoon replied, October 2, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    Bob, I didn't say language skills is not a plus and perhaps your touchie-feelie approach is nice with young kids perhaps but I'm dealing here on the NT level. My mind is on soccer and If I have dutch player who can't speak English ,I can understand talking to him in his native language along the sidelines. But if he can speak and understand English than I will speak English to him for 2 reasons. One, the guys on the bench have no idea what's going on if I spoke dutch  ,and two, my instructions ,verbally, is not only meant for him but also for the others to learn from.
    I always tell my players who are on the bench watching the game that they are in a position to learn the game, the deeper insights of what's happening because I continually explain,'real time' what certain players on the field are doing wrong and what should happen. In other words they are watching the game on fullsize screen with commentary and therefore it behooves me to speak the common language. I learned there is nothing better than learning first hand about the game by explaining at the moment to the players what went wrong, or who should have moved,etc. So when they go on the field they will a better Idea of how to play, becuase they have learned in 'real time'. Sitting on the bench and watching the game and explaining to the bench is to me the best way to learn the game. Coaches are always involved in the game and not really spend time with their subs but to me that is what I spend most of my time on , the subs.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2019 at 8:34 a.m.

    I agree with you Frank, that comments on the sidelines for the group should be in English and Spanish should be limited to private comments. The use of Spanish before a match was not dealing with "youth", but with senior players. I think it builds connections and helps everyone to focus on playing soccer instead of social differences. I think you see much the same thing happen at the professional level. Players will greet and shake hands with friends on the opposing team before the match and afterwards too. All business during the match though.

  16. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    Bob, You might like this..
    Koeman's Tactical MASTERCLASS | How Koeman's Tactics Helped The Netherlands to Destroy The Germans - YouTube

  17. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    Bob, You might like this..
    Koeman's Tactical MASTERCLASS | How Koeman's Tactics Helped The Netherlands to Destroy The Germans - YouTube

  18. humble 1 replied, October 3, 2019 at 11:54 a.m.

    Frank, sorry I hit and run and don't look back sometimes.  About the 'don't speak Spanish' anecdote, I am not inside Hugo's head, but I believe the anecdote was given as a metaphore for a broader issue.  As it relates to the Mexican nat. team players born in USA, don't have player details, only anectodale info, it was really an add on to my point that the USA sported seven dual German citizens for 2014 WC.  There is a big issue here assimilating latino players, seriously, Telemundo paid more than 600$ million for the right to broadcast WC 2018 and 22 in Spanish in USA, NBC paid $400M for English rights - $200M more!  Since 2015, USA has the 2ND largest native Spanish speaking population in the world, after only Mexico, more than Spain or Argentina.  Go into any almost any latino grocery store and  you can buy a soccer ball and jersey, try this at any SafeCo, Kroger, Abertsons, Wal-Mart Super, even Whole Foods,  nada, nothing.  There is an issue, Hugo has lived it, he's very reticent to speak, probably because there is a sort of omerta in and around USSF and CONCACAF.  One must be very careful with words or will need to walk in orange robe bearing rice bowl.  

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2019 at 1:56 p.m.

    Humble, that is exactly what comes to my mind every time someone says the US doesn't have a soccer culture. USSF doesn't have a soccer culture. It is a business mentality. CPAs would feel very comfortable there, but not Hispanic players and coaches.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2019 at 2:44 p.m.

    Thanks, Frank. What gets me is why Dumfries didn't drop lower on his own in the first half after he wasn't seeing the ball. Have times changed so much that players aren't allowed to solve tactical problems anymore? It would not have involved a switch in positions, just a minor adjustment in how high he pushed up based on the actual positions of the opponents.

  21. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2019 at 3:22 p.m.

    Bob, good question. Actually Humpries should never have been out (as far as I'm concerned). He's as a back running down the flank and receiving the ball on the run the opponents third and crosses it. But in this game he was forced in a way to do more with the  ball and that is his weakness. This is why I believe in following what Ajax did is to place in the old days  to place a former winger who just lacks that extra to play wing but let him play as back(look what Barca did with Puyol, Alves, Alba, idem ditto) Then you have someone who is pretty good either way with the ball on attack. Note the Germans played 523 therefore Humpries would always face a German player on the flank ,in other words not an open flank thereby making it much harder for him. This is why in the second half a semi-wing Promes played back and that made a world of difference..

  22. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2019 at 3:29 p.m.

    Humble, you might have a point there for I'm not up on all of this stuff. But you know what,Hugo needs to open his mouth once and for all. What's he worried about getting back at him, if he opens his mouth. He's too old in his career to even worry about stuff like that. And I'm not worried about him getting a soccer job for there too many supporters of his who would agree if he opens his mouth 

  23. James Mcalister, October 1, 2019 at 11:18 a.m.

    Just another example of how messed up the Federation really is. Hugo will do a great job for Mexico, unfortunately it will be at the expense of the USA.

  24. cony konstin, October 1, 2019 at 1:54 p.m.

    We need radical change. We need a 21st century master plan. We need innovative leadership. We need a soccer revolution in the USA. US soccer is broken. Soccer in America is about buying and selling minutia. Yes our federation is a reflection of our current political leadership. When you have the president of our country that says Mexicans are rapist and murderers that sets the tone for him, the GOP, a huge segment of our nation’s people and yes USSF. 

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".Edmund Burke

  25. Ed Aguirre replied, October 3, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.

    Ric Fonseca - you had to go to politics!! Really shows your ignorance!!

  26. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2019 at 4:13 p.m.

    Ed, I'm pondering where Ric Fonseca was supposedly being political in his comments and so what, he's talking about soccer  and that is what this is all about. We don't need people calling each other names or evoke derogatory terms because of some disagreement. I hope we can keep the dialogue on a mature level regardless of deep division of thought here. I hope you can bring some interesting comment to our discussions....good luck

  27. cony konstin, October 1, 2019 at 2:02 p.m.

    Please read this. This just adds more to what I just said above. It’s tidays article from Paul Gardner.

  28. Larry Chen, October 1, 2019 at 4:26 p.m.

    There’s always two sides to a story. Anyone care to represent the other side?

  29. Ric Fonseca, October 1, 2019 at 11:12 p.m.

    Coach Hugo Perez' signing by the Mexican Federation is nor surprising.  I can also point out to yet another former FMF NT player, Leo Cuellar, and credit him for the surge, yes, surge, of Mexican female players, and the MFM's formation of a women's pro league.  Coach Leo immigrated to the US after his career in Mexico "waned", he landed in the Los Angeles area and eventually was hired to coach the men's team at Cal State LA, after Ralph Perez and then Berhane Andeberhan.  Eventually Coach Leo, and his son, returned to Mexico, when I learned that he was hired to help form and coach the Mexican WNT.  The result is that even now, here in the East Los Angeles county area, there has been a healthy increase if not "surge" of more and more Mexican/Latina "futbolistas".  My point is that what Mexico started more than a decade ago, that of identifying and signing Mexican/Latin American players is now trending to do the same and ID-sign coaches, and eventually game officials and managers.  It is bound to happen, so please when it does, tell USSF not to cry over spilt milk or in their cerveza. 

  30. Nick Gabris, October 2, 2019 at 11:52 a.m.

    OOOOOH NOOOOO! My all time favorite player on the MNT. USSF is a joke, needs a good
    " spring cleaning."

  31. Kevin Leahy, October 2, 2019 at 5:08 p.m.

    It saddens me to lose Hugo Perez! I believe that he and Tab Ramos could open a lot of eyes if they chose to. Most professional people or classy people prefer to keep their inner thoughts to themselves. It is U.S. Soccer's loss to not have the best of our Hispanic contributors helping American players. Would much rather have Tab in Greg Berhalter's job. This organization is a train wreck!!!

  32. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2019 at 2:17 p.m.

    I would much rather have had TaTa as Coach with Perez and Ramos working with him and learning. I am okay with Berhalter as an assistant also, but doubt he would take the opportunity if offered. 

    I would like to see Friedel coaching again after some time assisting one of the more experienced and successful coaches. He impresses me as a smart person. He just needs to perhaps learn some Spanish so he may see some better ideas. I hope someday US coaches will work with Pep or one of the other great coaches his school of thought. 

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