NEW YORK – Despite reports in the Honduran press, reigning MLS rookie of the year Andy Najar has not declared his allegiance to the Honduras national team.
On Wednesday, Radio América, a Honduran radio station, reported that Najar had said in an interview that he would represent los Catrachos.
However, Najar’s representative, Chris Megaloudis of Long View Management, says that Najar's comments to Radio América were misinterpreted and that it was not his intention to officially declare his national-team loyalties.
“Andy said that he was careful with the words he used with the reporter,” Megaloudis told MLSsoccer.com. “There are some key words he used like 'dígamos' [let’s just say]. He told the reporter that whichever country he decided to represent, he’d be willing to give everything he has.”
Najar was also a featured guest on the FutbolMLS.com podcast Tiro Libre on Wednesday. During the interview, he admitted he had made up his mind, but that he was not ready to reveal his decision.
[inline_node:325362]“The truth is that I took the decision and I’m waiting now to say with whom,” Najar told Tiro Libre. “I don’t know how I’m going to announce it, but the news will come out and everyone will know it.”
“I think he’s leaning very heavily in one direction,” Megaloudis said. “But he’s not ready to come out and say it. … The decision will come some time soon.”
Last fall, Najar's father indicated that his son was leaning toward choosing to play for the United States, telling Honduran newspaper La Tribuna, “The United States have the advantage for him to play with them."
Although he has a green card, Najar does not have a US passport and is currently only eligible to play for Honduras and El Salvador. The process to obtain US citizenship after the receipt of a green card is typically five years. Najar turns 18 in March.
The manager of the Honduras Under-20 team, Javier Padilla, recently said he plans to travel to the United States to meet with Najar and convince him to join the Honduran U-20s for CONCACAF qualifying.
“My heart tells me that this time Andy will tell us ‘yes’,” Padilla told El Heraldo of Honduras. “I think the [Under-20] World Cup will motivate him to come.”
Both Najar and Megaloudis confirmed that there has been no contact with the Honduran Under-20 national team and the family has received no notice of a visit from Padilla.
“It’s wearing on Andy a little bit and it’s been a long, drawn-out process, an eight-, nine-month tug-of-war,” Megaloudis said. “But it’s been good for him and it has forced him to evaluate his career and where he wants to go with it. He’s not just a kid anymore. He’s a public figure and he’s in demand."