Alfredo Morales is a 25-year-old midfielder and a member of the U.S. national soccer team. He’s a dynamic player, originally a defender, who started his trade with Hertha, but had to leave due to a lack of opportunities. He eventually joined Ingolstadt, a team from a small town about an hour north of Berlin. Last season, the team won promotion to the Bundesliga, and Morales has been a big reason behind their success. He was born in Germany, is married to a German, has a German mother, and has never lived anywhere else.
Here is where it gets interesting. Morales has a Peruvian father (hence his Spanish name), who was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and ended up in Germany as part of his military duties. Galo Morales met his future wife in Germany and was eventually given U.S. citizenship. The rest is history. Alfredo is German-American-Peruvian and could have chosen to play for any nation, but U.S. soccer has been scouting him since he was in his youth. As soon as he was selected for this year’s Gold Cup, he officially became a member of the U.S. national team.
With the USA going up against Peru, and team manager Jürgen Klinsmann being German, things should be interesting. Morales might feel conflicted, but there’s no doubt his priority is America. We need to remember that despite his relatively young age, Morales is an extremely experienced player with a good head on his shoulders, and week in and week out he’s playing in one of the toughest leagues in Europe. He has played every minute for Ingolstadt this season and his consistency is a major attribute.
It remains to be seen whether or not Klinsmann will start him. During the Gold Cup, Morales only played in the group stages and Klinsmann made it very clear that he didn’t think the player was ready for a more prominent role in the tournament. “There are certain things that just don’t click yet, and it’ll just take a little bit of time. Right now in the tournament, we don’t have it,” he told the official U.S. soccer website in July.
However, the circumstances are now different. After under-performing throughout the tournament and losing to Jamaica in the semi-finals, Klinsmann should give him a chance to prove himself.
The response from German and Peruvian media outlets has been mixed. It would be fair to say that the Germans are not paying too much attention, since he’s not the first U.S. player with German ties – Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, and Jermaine Jones are a few examples. But some circles of the Peruvian media have been less than graceful, calling him a traitor who has turned his back on his heritage. The truth is that Morales doesn’t owe Peru anything. He’s clear about who he is and he’s extremely proud of his Peruvian background, but his loyalty lies with his family and what’s best for his wife and children.