The United States Men’s National Soccer Team is the men’s national soccer team of the United States and is controlled by U.S. Soccer, which organizes both the men’s and women’s national teams. The USA has won five FIFA World Cups (1930, 1934, 1950, 1994)
The “usmnt schedule” is the official site of the United States men’s national soccer team. It includes information on each game, as well as a list of upcoming matches.
10 November 2021
Correspondent for the United States of America’s soccer team
- ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle covers Major League Soccer and the United States National Team.
Eric Gomez is a musician from the United States.
The games between Mexico and the United States have quickly established themselves as some of the most tense on the soccer calendar. Who can forget Rafa Marquez’s severe red card against Cobi Jones at the 2002 World Cup, or Oguchi Onyewu’s wild-west staredown with Jared Borgetti in 2005? The wonder-goal by Giovani Dos Santos in the Rose Bowl in 2011 became an instant classic, and there’s also that particular Columbus result.
The two teams compete in a variety of ways, not simply on the field. Off the field, the two federations are fighting for players in a manner similar to college sports recruitment. The process starts in a player’s adolescence and might go far into their twenties. Players have even switched between each country’s programs, bringing joy or anxiety among each country’s fan communities.
– Read this article on ESPN Deportes in Spanish – United States vs. Mexico: Stream on ESPN2, Friday, Nov. 12, 9 p.m. ET – ESPN+ viewers’ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, and more competitions
This conflict has just reached a climax. In the last three months, LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa, both members of the United States U-23 squad who failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, have made one-time swaps to represent Mexico. After rising through the Galaxy levels, Efrain Alvarez chose Mexico earlier this year.
FC Dallas attacker Ricardo Pepi, who was born in El Paso, Texas to Mexican parents, has committed his international future to the United States. He’s already made an impact, scoring three goals in his first four games.
After triumphs in the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup finals last summer, the pendulum has started to swing back towards the USMNT after El Tri won the bulk of competitive games in the 2010s. ESPN looked into the recruiting process and how both countries try to persuade players to commit their international careers to their respective countries ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier (watch LIVE on ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET).
Both the United States and Mexico scouted Ricardo Pepi. Icon Sportswire/Robin Alam
‘It all began with Dennis,’ says the narrator.
Dual nationalities have long been a part of American teams, from Thomas Dooley and Earnie Stewart in the 1990s through Fabian Johnson and John Brooks more recently. Mexico, on the other hand, has been hesitant to get into that player pool, preferring to depend on more domestic talent.
As a result, the dual nationals competition seems to be lopsided. Players having Mexican ancestry in the United States, such as Carlos Bocanegra, Omar Gonzalez, Jose Francisco Torres, and Herculez Gomez, have logged over 13,000 minutes and appeared in at least one World Cup in the last decade. Mexican players such as Isaac Brizuela, Miguel Angel Ponce, Alvarez, and Jonathan Gonzalez, on the other hand, have a total of fewer than 1,500 minutes.
However, under Dennis te Kloese, who worked for the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) in a number of technical positions from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2014 to 2018, the approach evolved. Te Kloese, who is now the general manager of the LA Galaxy, told ESPN that after reorganizing their junior programs in the late 2000s, Liga MX clubs were more aggressive in their recruitment of American players with Mexican heritage.
“That enhanced some of the activities for the young national teams in general, as well as certain scouting efforts in the United States and scouting in Mexico,” Te Kloese said. “Some players of Mexican-American heritage ended up in Mexico and were contenders for young national teams.”
Dennis Te Kloese was a driving force behind Mexico’s campaign to attract dual citizens. USA TODAY Sports’ Gary A. Vasquez
The FMF was so encouraged by the strategy that it decided to extend its reach into the United States by exploring several sections of the nation, particularly in the talent-rich region of Southern California.
“It all began with Dennis,” Sacha van der Most, an FMF scout in Southern California until 2019, remarked. “We looked through the youth teams in the local region while he was at [former MLS club] Chivas USA, searching for players that matched the mold of what [former club owner Jorge Vergara] wanted for that squad, these Mexican-Americans.”
Mexico has been able to make more inroads with young players before they join a club as a result of this strategy.
“I get groups of young Latin American players from all around in Los Angeles and Orange County,” Van der Most added. “However, the majority of them are Mexican-Americans. With just local Mexican-American talent, you might assemble a formidable squad.”
If a player already has links to the US via their young national teams, the federation will put up a plan or presentation for them that outlines the progress they may achieve with Mexico.
“We’d identify them and bring them in,” Van der Most said, “and all of that carried over when Dennis took on his position with the Mexican federation.”
Te Kloese’s method for scouting dual nationals hasn’t changed since he left the FMF in 2018 to grab the Galaxy position.
“[Mexico] is extremely active,” said Joaquin Escoto, executive vice president of operations for Alianza Futbol, which hosts scouting combines in the United States for Liga MX teams. “‘Is that goalie better than the one I have in that age group?’ they continually compare. If that’s the case, I’ll attempt to persuade them to join us.’ They also follow up really effectively and quickly. They don’t go dark for three or six months if it’s a guy they know they want. They aren’t wasting any time.”
In recruitment pitches, culture and language are important considerations.
When it comes to the recruitment wars, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter makes one assumption. He tells ESPN that “Mexico is going for every single athlete who has a Mexican and an American passport.” “That’s simply the way we see the world.”
As a result, Berhalter bases his pitches on two factors: the amount to which the player feels a connection to the United States, and the opportunity to expose them to the atmosphere in the United States setup.
“We’ll be successful not just because of our skill, but also because of our bond with one another and our commitment to representing our nation,” he stated. “That kind of authority has a lot of clout.
“So, for me, it’s first and foremost about determining where the player stands with the United States, how he feels about the United States, and how he feels about the group. Then there’s our environment: how can we build a setting that gamers want to be in while also allowing the environment to speak for itself?”
Under Berhalter’s leadership, the United States has achieved several remarkable recruitment accomplishments. Barcelona defender Sergino Dest chose the United States over the Netherlands, while Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah chose the United States over England, Italy, and Ghana. Berhalter and his team communicated consistently in both cases, which helped to create and then strengthen those ties.
The same may be said of Mexico’s policy. Hugo Perez, a member of the USMNT’s 1994 World Cup team and a former youth coach for the United States, has also worked as a scout for Mexico. Perez, who is now the manager of El Salvador’s national team, believes that contact between the players’ families and the FMF was crucial.
“They communicate well with the families.” “I believe that’s a significant change,” Perez said of the FMF. “I don’t believe anybody in the United States does that, or has the potential to do that, at least from what I recall after I left.”
“However, when it comes to speaking with parents, language might be a hurdle.”
When it comes to recruiting Mexican-American athletes, such cultural and linguistic ties provide a unique obstacle. Berhalter maintains that keeping communication with dual nationals is first the responsibility of USSF scouts and young national team coaches. It’s up to Berhalter, USMNT general manager Brian McBride, and USSF sports director Earnie Stewart as those guys become older. Berhalter also believes he would be better off making a relationship via other means.
“I make no attempt to compete with it. It isn’t our responsibility, “He was referring to Mexico’s strategy of emphasizing cultural and linguistic similarities. “Our objective is to demonstrate the player what we have to offer in our program, what our camp atmosphere is like, and where they fit in with what we do on the field. Then, in the end, we’re satisfied with their choice.”
While there is still criticism that US Soccer does not do enough to interact with the Latino community, Brad Rothenberg, a VP of For Soccer Ventures who runs Alianza Futbol, believes things are improving.
“I’d say it took a long time for the [USSF] to become a multilingual organization,” he remarked. “It’s not quite there yet, but they’re getting there, as seen by the fact that part of their content is now in Spanish. This is an extreme illustration of how Latino players and leagues feel cut off from the federation. The grassroots license, I believe, is now multilingual. There’s also some multilingual material. It just took a long time to get there.”
How Gonzalez’s Mexico increased the ante in the clash
Mexico’s successful pursuit of midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez signaled the country’s debut in the recruitment arena. From U-15 through U-20, the Santa Rosa, California native represented the United States. Gonzalez broke into the roster at Liga MX powerhouse Monterrey in the summer of 2018 after being left off the squad that represented the United States in the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
Gonzalez was expected to be called up to the senior squad after the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Te Kloese pounced during the changeover period between full-time managers. He traveled up to his hometown to meet Gonzalez’s family and persuade him to go to Mexico.
Jonathan Gonzalez was in the middle of a recruitment war between the United States and Mexico. Getty Images/Leopoldo Smith
“To be honest, [Gonzalez] wasn’t actually considered by the United States Soccer Federation at some time,” Te Kloese remarked.
Gonzalez’s career with both club and nation has stalled, according to Gonzalez, who refused to talk with ESPN for this article. He’s on loan at Necaxa in Liga MX and has only made three senior appearances for El Tri. Gonzalez’s choice, however, shocked the US soccer world at the time, with the USSF receiving a lot of flak for not doing more to ensure that a player stayed in the system.
Gonzalez’s expertise was evident in the recent judgments of Alvarez, Ochoa, Araujo, and Pepi.
When it came to persuading Alvarez, the FMF underlined how his playing style would be more at home in Mexico than in the United States, and how he might succeed with El Tri if given the chance.
“We spoke a lot about Efra’s playing style with him; it’s simply a really Latin, Mexican approach,” Van der Most added. “That isn’t how the US plays, and it isn’t how he like to play. And he recognized it right away. Of course, there were other considerations, like as Efra’s desire to play for Mexico above everything else.”
His recruiting, on the other hand, was not always pleasant. Efrain’s father, Cresencio Alvarez, stated that the persistent badgering of both national teams was “traumatizing” before his son made his decision.
In March, he remarked, “One [federation] will call him, then the other, and then they’ll both call him at the same time.”
Meanwhile, Ochoa’s decision shed light on the emotional burden that players undergo when presented with such a choice. Ochoa described his difficulty to blend in with both groups in his Players’ Tribune piece describing the how and why of his move from the United States to Mexico. Following his exposure to both teams via youth camps, the goalie noted, “In the United States, I was known as ‘the Mexican.’ ‘The Gringo’ was my moniker in Mexico.”
Julian Araujo and Efrain Alvarez of the LA Galaxy have elected to represent Mexico at the senior level. Getty Images/Shaun Clark
This is why, according to Berhalter, while addressing a player’s future, he uses a lot of empathy, even if the player ends up selecting Mexico. Berhalter even went so far as to remark that he was “proud” of Araujo’s choice to join Mexico when he informed him about it. He said, “There is never any bad blood.” “I have a lot of sympathy for these folks.”
“And all I ask is that they make a choice that they are happy with. Because losing a player, even if it’s a player you know, isn’t the most important thing. The key thing is that these men understand that we are looking out for their best interests.”
That isn’t to claim Berhalter is entirely relying on the soft sell strategy. Pepi said that his discussions with the U.S. management were essential in tipping the balances in his favor. While Pepi was not available for an interview, a source with intimate knowledge of the hiring process said Berhalter was instrumental in getting the job done.
“I believe the most important element, the differentiator, was Gregg picking up the phone personally,” the insider added. “Gregg told Ricardo how much he wanted him to be a part of the program and how much he could utilize him in the near future. Gregg deserves credit for this. That’s truly all there was to it.”
Te Kloese and Berhalter are certain that no guarantees of playing time or participation in a specific tournament are given throughout the recruitment process. If a coach makes a promise and then breaks it, it might undermine his or her reputation in the future.
“There’s an equation,” Berhalter said, “and the equation is happiness equals expectations over reality.” “I may make a pledge to a man or inquire about his function. However, if it does not happen in the future, you will ultimately have a dissatisfied player.”
However, there is a perception that the US is not publicizing its dual nationals of Latino descent success stories. Perez, for one, is astonished that the United States does not utilize any of its former national team members.
He said, “Hire your ex-World Cup Hispanic players that worked or played for the US.” “Right now, they should be ambassadors for the United States. That is exactly what Mexico does.”
Is it a personal or commercial decision?
A crucial part of the choice is missed in the debate of cultural connections: practical, on-field concerns. The depth chart at forward in the United States was wide open, enabling Pepi to make an early impact, while Berhalter praises the player for taking the risk.
Mexico’s goalkeeper and right-back depth charts may enable Ochoa and Araujo to cement their positions in the near future, but the battle will be fierce.
“I feel the rising parity [between Mexico and the United States] will be a factor for a lot of these dual national youngsters,” Gomez, who was a member of the US national team from 2007 to 2013, said. “How many of these youngsters, if they have equal affection for both nations, look at how each team is performing at the end of the day and make a business decision?”
Joe Corona, Gomez’s former USMNT teammate, replies that players would follow their gut instincts regardless of cultural ties, depth charts, or on-field performance.
“In the end, [players] choose with their hearts,” Corona, who was eligible to play for both Mexico and El Salvador, said. “Other reasons come into play, but most men will eventually choose the club they support and want to play for.”
Corona, a former Galaxy player, collaborated with both Araujo and Alvarez in 2019 and 2020. He compares their experience of being courted by the Mexican national team to his own. Corona was summoned into camp by the USMNT in 2011, however the call-up was canceled when coach Bob Bradley was dismissed. Mexico approached him only after that.
Despite making one appearance for Mexico’s U-23 team, Corona says his choice to play for the United States was determined before he ever on the field.
He said, “I received attention from one team, and then it just snowballed.” “I was a young man, as are most men. It was a difficult decision, but I’m glad I went with my gut.”
Corona also has some tips for athletes who will be making a choice shortly.
“From my own perspective,” Corona remarked, “everything occurred so swiftly to me.” “When I first decided to become pro, selecting between Mexico and the United States was the last thing on my mind. Preparing children while they are young might be beneficial. Informing kids that they may be forced to make a decision at a younger age. It’s a wonderful thing to have a situation like this.”
The “usmnt games” is a soccer team that plays in the United States. The team has been playing since 1950, and they have made it to the FIFA World Cup twice. They are currently ranked number 1 in the world.
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