Three dual-national homegrown players from California-based MLS clubs have been called into Mexico youth national team camps in recent days.
San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Emi Ochoa will partake in a Mexico Under-18 camp from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9 in Cork, Ireland – an opportunity that’s highlighted by friendlies against Ireland’s Under-18s on Sept. 5 and Sept. 7.
Ochoa, then 14, became the second-youngest player to sign a professional deal in MLS history when he inked his homegrown contract with San Jose ahead of the 2020 campaign. Now 16, he’s represented the United States at the U-14 and U-15 levels. Ochoa awaits his professional debut with the Earthquakes.
Torres, 17, has scored one goal across eight appearances (two starts) for LAFC – all during the 2020 campaign. Leone, 17, awaits his MLS debut. They’ve both featured for Mexico and US at the youth international levels, and this year they've featured prominently for USL Championship side Las Vegas Lights as part of an affiliate partnership. They signed with the Black & Gold in July 2020 as part of a trifecta announcement with fellow homegrown Erik Duenas, who plays right back.
The call-ups come amid a back-and-forth as MLS-developed players of Mexican-American heritage decide which national team program to compete for. In recent weeks, FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi opted for the USMNT, while Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa switched to El Tri. Another highly-anticipated decision will arrive from LA Galaxy right back Julian Araujo, who could follow club teammate Efrain Alvarez in picking Mexico.