GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Are US internationals allowed to play for Chivas Guadalajara or not?
It depends on who you believe.
In Wednesday's edition of the respected Cancha newspaper, Chivas Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara is quoted saying that US internationals with Mexican citizenship could play for the club.
It was a historic statement and followed speculation in recent weeks that there was interest from Chivas in US national team striker Herculez Gomez.
But the club's press office emphatically denied the possibility later on Wednesday.
“In Guadalajara, Mexican players that choose to play with the Mexican national team are the only ones that will be admitted,” the club said as part of a wide-ranging statement.
Vergara previously had indicated just the opposite, apparently opening the door to signing the likes of Gomez.
“While they are still Mexicans, it's allowed,” Vergara told Cancha. “I've got to respect the constitution and the law. … If a person decides to play for another national team, that's their decision.”
The owner of both CD Guadalajara and sister club Chivas USA was also asked whether Gomez, Michael Orozco Fiscal, José Torres, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona – Americans in Mexico that have USMNT caps and are Mexican citizens – could play for Chivas.
“Of course, they are Mexicans,” reiterated Vergara. “If they are Mexicans, of course they can.”
MLSsoccer.com has learned that Gomez was legitimately of interest to Chivas, making the mixed messages emanating from the club especially perplexing.
The feeling that the club was becoming more open to the idea of including foreign internationals was gaining ground in the Mexican press, especially with club advisor Johan Cruyff announcing in a press conference on Oct. 27 that he would accept Mexicans wherever they were born.
There are currently six US-born players at Chivas – Miguel Ponce, Jesús Padilla, Julio César Morales, Luis Matir, David Silva and Jaime Frías.
If Vergara's statements to Cancha were considered the club's official policy, the aforementioned players could have had the possibility of playing with US national team squads, but with the apparent backtrack the proposition seems unlikely.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.