US-Born Players of Mexican Descent Not Happy With Liga MX’s New Limits on Foreigners

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This weekend, Liga MX Apertura 2016 begins, marking another mouthwatering season of Mexican domestic soccer. A rule on binational players is making movement between the USA and Mexico more difficult – a further proliferation of the complex concept of national identity in soccer, as a new ESPN report shows.

Liga MX has a new 10/8 rule that limits the number of foreign-born players allowed in a match day squad to 10. Mexico’s constitution decrees that one has the right to be a Mexican national if one has at least one Mexican parent, but the constitution seems inapplicable in Liga MX’s book.

Pachuca’s Omar González, Santos Laguna’s Jorge Villafaña, Querétaro duo Jonathan Bornstein and Luis Gil are among the players who are considered foreigners. The rule wants to combat the rapid naturalization of foreign-born players by insisting that at least eight Mexican-born players feature in the match day squads. Mexicans who have been naturalized count as foreigners.

Jorge Villafaña
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“Players with dual Mexican-American nationality can be considered part of the eight [Mexican] players if at the time of their first registration they hadn’t turned 19,” states another rule, specifically in regards to dual nationality players.

“I don’t see it as a benefit to anybody,” former U.S. international Herculez Gomez told ESPN. “It really is a strange thing to see. You are going to see players that were highly coveted not be there, like Omar González, who was a great find for Pachuca. If this would’ve happened a year ago, [the deal] wouldn’t have happened.”