Union's Farfan twins undecided on US, Mexico loyalties
CHESTER, Pa. — Though everyone on the Philadelphia Union is excited to welcome the US national team to their city for Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico (9 pm ET; ESPN2, Univisión), the rivalry game is especially meaningful for two Philly players:
Mexican-American brothers Michael and Gabriel Farfan.
“To be honest, I feel a part of both sides,” said Gabriel, who lives in an apartment with his brother right near Lincoln Financial Field, where the US-Mexico game will be held. “I grew up in a Mexican household but was born over here in the United States. I never root for either one. I just want to see a great game from both teams.”
Before signing with the Union this past offseason, Gabriel got a taste of Mexican soccer by playing with Primera División giants Club América. The time spent was not only valuable in learning about his heritage but also it helped him emerge as a valuable MLS commodity.
Despite having little experience at defense, Gabriel has stepped in as the Union’s starting left back over the past month. Michael has been a versatile player for Philly as well, showing his creativity at both fullback and midfield.
So far in their debut MLS seasons, the Farfans each have a goal and an assist, and have certainly shown why they both have international experience playing for the United States U-17 national team at the 2005 Youth World Cup.
As for possibly playing internationally in the future — well, that’s still up in the air. Gabriel, for example, would be eligible to play for either the US or Mexico.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Gabriel said on which country he’d play for. “I’ve already represented the US but I have dual citizenship.”
With Jurgen Klinsmann at PPL Park for the Union’s game against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, the twin brothers had ample opportunity to make an impression on the new US boss.
“I think whoever it is, you need to try to impress them and play your game and hope at some point they see your hard work and ability,” said Michael who, unlike his brother, never lived in Mexico.
While playing in national team games is obviously a goal, as it is for any young player, the 23-year-old twins are content at this moment just to watch a game between two nations they have such strong ties to.
“I think the atmosphere will be great,” Michael said. “A lot of people around here love soccer and I think it will be a good game.”
“Obviously any time Mexico comes here or the US goes there, it’s gonna be a great game,” Gabriel added. “It will be a great experience to go and see.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.