While the U.S. tries to stop Mexicans from entering the country, some Americans are trying to stop the ones who live here from letting their kids from going back.
Richard Sanchez is one example. Born and raised in the U.S., where he plays now for FC Dallas, that city’s entry in Major League Soccer, Sanchez played for Mexico as it won this year’s Under-17 world title.
Big Mexican soccer clubs like Guadalajara, Club América and Pachuca frequently bring budding American-born Mexicans down for try-outs. Several Mexican clubs have set up soccer academies in the U.S., to improve their talent pool.
“That has become not a trend, but a norm, quite frankly,” Thomas Rongen, former coach of the U.S. under-20 national team, told MLSsoccer.com.
Playing for Mexican clubs or soccer academies can benefit young players because they also usually receive free education until high school and other support, something American soccer programs don’t typically offer.
This reverse immigration has seen several American-born players, including Sanchez, star in international competitions for under-20 Mexican teams. But José Francisco Torres, who grew up playing in Pachuca’s program, now plays for the National team.
For now, American and Mexican youth coaches say the rivalry for players is a friendly one.