MARIETTA, Ga. — One of the top U.S.-eligible prospects in the world, the LA Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez, told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday that he is still open to playing for the US national team in the future, despite switching his youth national team allegiance to Mexico in 2016.
“I'm not closing the door on anyone. I could still play for the U.S. or I could keep playing for Mexico. But I'm with Mexico right now and that's my focus,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez made one youth national team appearance for the United States — the country of his birth — in 2016. He scored in a 2-0 win over Uruguay for the U.S. U15s.
Then, according to Alvarez, “Something happened with the U.S., and then Mexico came knocking on my door, and I tried it and I liked it there.”
What was that something? In an interview with Soccer America, Alvarez’s club coach Mike Muñoz said that Alvarez was confoundingly dropped from a U.S. camp, which caused enough of a rift between the two sides for Mexico to take advantage.
“With U.S. Soccer, Efra was dropped from the camp for whatever reason,” Muñoz said in a story published in late May. “I don't know if there was a collective decision from U.S. Soccer. ... Unfortunately when he was dropped, Mexico came knocking at the door and has been there ever since.”
Alvarez is certainly a prospect worth fighting for. The diminutive attacker’s scoring record is exquisite at every level, having scored four goals in four youth national team appearances, plus six goals in seven appearances in USL for LA Galaxy II.
League personnel certainly know his potential, having selected him to compete in the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® on Tuesday against Tigres UNAL U-20s.
“I'm happy to be called up [to the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game] and honestly I'm just grateful for everything that MLS does for us,” Alavarez said after the team’s first training session Sunday afternoon. “I'm ready to give the best for MLS in the game. I know some of the guys here and I'm excited to play with them.”