Sebastian Soto - US U-20s

Former Real Salt Lake academy standout Sebastian Soto is off to a notably hot start for SC Telstar in the Dutch second division, scoring three goals in his first five matches, and that means the questions of where he's going to play his international soccer have once again become a topic of discussion.

The 20-year-old California native has featured for the United States at the U-19, U-20 and U-23 levels, but is also eligible to represent Chile, who have courted him as well.

It's a decision between the two that Soto says he plans to make soon, and one that at this point he still says is a 50-50 proposition.

US men's national team head coach Gregg Berhalter was asked about Soto's status on a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM FC, saying that his hope is that Soto will stay with the US program, and that he sees Soto as a player that could make a big future impact for the team. The forward played for RSL's academy from 2016-2018 before moving to Hannover 96. He signed with Norwich City in 2020 before getting loaned to Telstar.

"He's a player we really like, he's been in our program," Berhalter said. "All we want to do is create the environment that players want to be in. We don't like to lose players. There's no way I'd be happy about him going to play for Chile because we feel like he can be an important player for us in the future. It's trying to create an environment players want to be in, it's trying to play a way player want to play, and hoping they choose for us. 

"Sergiño [Dest] is another guy, he had options. He could have easily played for Holland and he decided to play for us. So we try to do the work on our end to keep these players."

Like Berhalter said, it's a situation we've seen before with players like Dest or the impending decision of Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola between the US and Canada. For the moment, all we can do is wait.