FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England forward Diego Fagundez confirmed he plans to seek US citizenship after securing permanent residency status earlier this week.
Fagundez, 18, now counts as a domestic player for the Revolution after securing his green card. He didn't delve into the specifics surrounding his new status, but he noted the positive outcome represents the first substantive step toward a possible shot with the US national team.
“Now it's about working towards citizenship and, hopefully after that, playing for the national team,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday.
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The process will likely continue for the next three to five years based upon typical citizenship requirements. Any green card holders seeking to obtain American citizenship must wait either three years (if eligible as the spouse of a citizen) or five years (if eligible in all other cases) after receiving their green card before applying for citizenship, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Potential applicants must also satisfy a handful of residency requirements to facilitate a successful application.
Fagundez, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, and a Uruguayan citizen, said he wants to work toward fulfilling those criteria and obtaining his citizenship at some point down the line. If he ultimately achieves that objective, then Fagundez – if he meets the applicable criteria under FIFA eligibility guidelines and sidesteps committing himself to Uruguay in an official competition – could place his name in contention for US national team duty.
One FIFA hurdle would be living continuously in the United States for five consecutive years after the age of 18, pursuant to article III, section 7 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes.
“I do have options,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com. “I would like to play for the US, but, of course, there are doors open.”
For the moment, Fagundez is more focused on chasing the Revolution's first playoff berth since 2009. He said he plans to place any discussions about his national team future on hold through the end of the season to exert all his energy on his club duties for the remainder of the campaign.
“To tell you the truth, I haven't really thought about national teams yet,” Fagundez said. “I'm trying to focus on the Revs. Right now, we're in the playoff race and that's more important. Once the season is over and [if] I get invited for camps with the US or Uruguay, then I'll start thinking about it more. Right now, the Revs are number one.”