BRENT LATHAM - Thursday, February 25, 2010
Following a trial with Champions League contenders Fiorentina, former US Under-17 national team pool member Dustin Corea is now off to Sicily where he will begin a trial with Palermo.
"They are very interested in seeing me play and have an opportunity in signing," the American winger said of the Sicilian team. "That would be an actual pro deal."
The Oregon native has been in Italy for several weeks, after signing on with an Italian-based agent. He says the trial at Fiorentina went well, but any deal was prevented by the team's financial circumstances. Corea also has a trial lined up next month in Turin, should things not work out at Palermo.
"I was at Fiorentina, but they said they couldn't sign me because they already spent multi-million dollars on players," Corea said. "But they want me to come back. Then Juventus is waiting for me."
"At the moment it's been Italy, but my agent is very well connected - one of the best in Italy - so we can try elsewhere like England and Spain. But at the moment I want to sign here just to have a team and start my training process and go from there."
Corea said unlike fellow US U-17 stars Luis Gil and Jack McInerney, he never really considered MLS, after being linked with his local team, Portland Timbers, who will join the US top division next year. The Salvadoran dual-citizen says many members of this generation of Under-17s are looking to go the pro route overseas to challenge themselves as soccer players.
"If I want to grow as a player and be good than I have to go to Europe or South America," said Corea, adding that he had considered a move south of the border along with Carlos Martinez, who played in Nigeria for the U-17 national team. "Carlos is a really good friend of mine," he added.
Though Corea ultimately elected to cross the Atlantic Ocean instead of the southern border, it was another trip south earlier this year that has caused some concern for US fans. After his dual national status garnered the attention of the El Salvador Federation, Corea made a trip the Central American country in January. There, he says he was received like a king, practicing with the El Salvador U-21 team and making a number of appearances in the media.
Despite reports to the contrary, Corea still describes himself as "undecided" on his international future. He says the trip to El Salvador, and the attention of the press and the Salvadorans, are the main factors that have him reconsidering playing for the small country instead of the US
"I have a lot on my mind about that," Corea said. "There's nothing like the treatment in El Salvador. They just haven't heard of someone having an opportunity in Europe and being half Salvadoran."