FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has said that he would prefer to play for Mexico rather than the United States, should the dual national ever get a call-up.
The 21-year-old Mexican-American verbally accepted an invite to the U.S. camp in 2016, then changed his mind and joined El Tri's Olympic-bound under-23 team instead.
Although he has played for Mexico's U-20s and U-23s, starting two of three matches for the former at the 2015 U20 World Cup, he is eligible for either country until he plays on a senior team.
"I feel more Mexican," Gonzalez told AS. "My entire family is Mexican and I am proud of my heritage. Of course I would play for Mexico and I hope one day to get the chance."
Gonzalez, who was born in North Carolina to a father from Toluca and mother from the Mexican state of Nayarit, earned a starter's role for his Major League Soccer side in 2015. He was a key player in Dallas' run to the Western Conference final.
Raised in Texas, Gonzalez said he had hoped to catch the attention of El Tri in 2016, but has not lost faith. He has 21 career MLS regular season appearances and has played in four games this season, allowing just one goal.
"I have a good rhythm so far," he told AS. "I set goals this year and little by little I am trying to reach them.
"[Last season] I was depressed because I wanted to play more," he said. "I think it was good to have this [lack of playing time] happen to me early in my career and not in the future."
Even as he struggles for minutes, Gonzalez said he feels he has full support of Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.
"Oscar is not just a coach, he is a friend," he said. "He is demanding, but he spells out how things are and he tells it to you straight. He just wants the best for me." Gonzalez said his dream is to one day play in Europe.
"Some day, but right now I am happy in Dallas," he said. "I have to thank this club for everything they have done for me.
"The goal here in Dallas is to win games ... win, win and win, there is nothing else."