Yesterday, we wrote that Jesse González had turned down an invite to the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in favor of joining the Selección Sub-23. A buzzer-beater decision that got us all thinking: what is it exactly that made the 6’4” rookie decide to join the El Tri U-23s?
Upon the article’s release, y’all lit up our comments section on Facebook with loads of awesome ideas. Don’t forget about 19-year-old Mexican youth international goalkeeping stud Raúl Gudiño – the “next Memo Ochoa” currently honing his craft abroad with Porto – wrote one poster. It’s true: Gudiño + Xolos de Tijuana’s Gibran Lajud = plenty of firepower and depth in the goalkeeping spot for Mexico across the board. Hell, Gudiño’s even been learning from the legend San Iker Casillas while manning the net for Porto’s second team in the Portuguese second division. Can you imagine a better mentor?
Some see González as second or third in line behind these two young starlets in the fight for Mexico’s starting spot.
Which makes me wonder: does more talent and youth development within the Mexican national fútbol system correlate with more opportunities for growth for 20-year-old González? Or does this plethora of young goalkeeping godliness perhaps make him more inclined to attempt to make it big with the U.S.?
Surely his chances would have been favorable with the U.S., especially if reports are true that Jürgen Klinsmann was quite adamant about getting the guy involved with the red, white, and blue. Mexican-born William Yarbrough, who featured between the posts in the U.S.’ 2-0 friendly victory over Mexico last April, made (what would have been) a similar switch after originally getting a call up from the Selección Sub-20 back in 2007.
At a certain point, it almost seems fruitless to discuss whether or not the U.S.’ comparative lack of goalkeeping depth in relation to Mexico’s flourishing youth system (they won two U-17 World Cups and an Olympic Gold in the past 10 years) played heavily into González’s decision to snub Klins. These debates make Jesse’s tough conclusion that much more difficult to analyze. There’s also the medal-winning potential as a deciding factor and the U.S. potentially overtaking Mexico on the international level within the next decade (which to be honest, doesn’t seem all that likely given the fact that Liga MX rocks in comparison to the MLS) to consider.
In the end, what does seem glaringly evident is that his success will inevitably come down to how hard he works within the system that he is a part of. With this in mind, it seems pretty damn obvious that the dude’s heart is (and always has been) with Mexico. The one-time change that would’ve been required of him had he decided to join the U.S. camp would have been a lot to ask.
He’s dreamed of wearing la camiseta de México ever since he was a child. So, regardless of any and all other factors, it looks like González just had to go with his heart on this one. A question for you all to ponder in the aftermath of his decision: does the U.S. need to do something to make playing for the USMNT more attractive to players with dual eligibility? Is González’s case dismissible due to the fact that we’re dealing with a goalie rather than a star forward with goal-scoring flair?