FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has decided to represent Mexico rather than the United States if given the opportunity to play senior international football.
Gonzalez, a Mexican-American, had verbally accepted an invitation to the U.S. camp in 2016 before changing his mind and joining Mexico's Olympic-bound under-23 team instead.
The 21-year-old has represented both Mexico's U20s and U23s but would be eligible to play for either country until being called into a senior team.
Gonzalez, born in North Carolina to Mexican parents, said he was "thankful for everything in America" and "was not losing respect" for the country but added: "Sometimes my family reminds me they're all Mexican, and I always grew up with that in my heart.
"America has given us a lot, but being a Mexican is always something special for us. The thing is you have to respect both countries. I am a Mexican-American. That's who I am."
Dallas coach Oscar Pareja acknowledged that the fierce football rivalry between the two nations meant Gonzalez had faced "a difficult decision."
But he said: "He had his whole family, his roots, all his past, belong to a country. It means a lot, but at the same time he has been growing in America.
"We spoke a few times about it and when it came to a decision my suggestion to him was to let the heart guide -- and that's not going to be a mistake."
In April, Gonzalez had said he would prefer to play for Mexico rather than the United States should he get called up.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.