GUADALAJARA, Mexico – An historic exception is being made for US Under-20 international Juan Pablo Ocegueda, who is set to train at Chivas de Guadalajara in the build up to June’s U-20 World Cup.
The club confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Monday that the 19-year-old left back is currently on loan at the Chivas institution from Liga MX club Tigres UANL, but the club’s “Mexican-only” policy doesn’t allow him to feature in official matches for the Rebaño Sagrado due to his decision to play for the United States.
There were suggestions in the Mexican press that Ocegueda would head north to his native Southern California to join Chivas USA following the US U-20 side’s successful CONCACAF qualification for the World Cup earlier this month.
But Chivas sporting director Dennis te Kloese says MLS rules prevented that from happening.
“Our initial idea was to have him in Chivas USA, but league regulations make this too difficult and therefore he will be here in Guadalajara training to be able to play the U-20 World Cup,” Te Kloese told MLSsoccer.com on Monday.
Ocegueda was solid in defense during the qualifiers and started four of the US U-20 team’s five games under coach Tab Ramos. He has been a regular in the US U-20 cycle under Ramos.
Ocegueda previously played in Southern California for club side West Coast before te Kloese, who was formerly youth director at Tigres, signed him for the Monterrey club in January 2009.
The youngster’s long-term club future is still unknown, although if he was to play for the Guadalajara parent club, it would be a major shift in policy.
There is only one known case of a former US international playing for the Guadalajara parent club and that is current Chivas USA defender and Orange, Calif., native Carlos Borja. He played for both the US U-17 and U-20 teams and later featured in Chivas de Guadalajara’s reserve side Tapatío.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.