FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England forward Diego Fagundez has accepted a call-up to join the Uruguay Under-20 national team at a training camp in Montevideo next week.
Fagundez, 17, will link up with the Uruguay national team setup for the first time on Sunday and will likely feature in a pair of friendlies against Chile on Oct. 9 and 11.
“I'm very excited,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com. “It's a good opportunity for me.”
The decision to represent Uruguay represents the next step in Fagundez's development. He once featured for the US U-14 and U-15 national boys' teams, but he does not currently hold American citizenship and could not feature at a higher level at this point. Instead of waiting for the citizenship process to unfold over the next several years, Fagundez has chosen to suit up for the country of his birth.
It is a decision that comes at a good time for club, country and player. Fagundez will not miss any first-team matches with the Revolution to participate in the camp.
“I think it's good for him to get international exposure at the right time,” New England coach Jay Heaps said. “He's not missing any first-team action to do it. Where we are at, it would have been a tough one to send him to the U-20 camp if he was playing first-team minutes. But since we have the bye weekend and the international week, it fits in perfectly for him to get some exposure and some experience and that's good any time you go to a camp like that.”
Fagundez will step into a squad comprising primarily domestic players and try to carve out a regular place in the team ahead of the 2013 South American Youth Championship in January. The task presents a difficult challenge for Fagundez, but he can use the prospect of donning the blue and white for the first time and sharing a training facility with the star-studded senior team for motivation on his quest.
“I always looked up Uruguay's national team with [Diego] Forlán, [Luis] Suárez, [Édinson] Cavani and all of those players,” Fagundez said. “Even being at the complex with them – though not playing with them – is going to be something special. That'll be a good part of it. Going and putting on the national team jersey will be the best part of it, though.”