Gringo Report: Ponce in Mexico's Copa América roster
As the tug of war between the United States and Mexico continues for soccer talent continues to wage, it's El Tri who have made the latest pull.
Sacramento, Calif., native Miguel Ángel Ponce, who currently makes his living as a left back for Mexican side CD Guadalajara, has been included in a preliminary list of 26 players announced on Saturday by Mexico U-22 national team coach Luis Fernando Tena for July's Copa América. Four names of that roster are to be crossed off by June 27.
Mexico, who are also participating in June's Gold Cup, decided to take an Under-22 squad bolstered by a handful of more seasoned veterans to take part in the Copa América. Ponce is one of six Chivas players called by Tena.
The 22-year-old, who was born to Mexican parents and was raised in Tijuana, Mexico, has been a vital component for el Rebaño Sagrado since his debut on April 24, 2010. He started all 17 games for Chivas in the Apertura 2010 tournament, notching two goals in the process. During the recently concluded Clausura 2011 campaign, Ponce was sidelined for eight games with an injury but came back to help Chivas reach the semifinals.
Back in September 2010, Ponce told MLSsoccer.com, "I was born in America, but in my case, my family is Mexican, so I’m more Mexican than American. ... If the US is interested [in my services], then I haven’t noticed."
The 26 players summoned by Tena will have to report to training camp on May 29 in Mexico City, where they will train before playing tune-up matches against Venezuela on June 11 in Las Vegas, Chivas USA on June 15 in Tijuana, Colombia on June 22 in Cali, and Ecuador on June 25 in Quito.
El Tri share Copa América's Group C with Uruguay, Chile and Peru. The competiton is set to run from July 1-24.