BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, March 29, 2010
As the US U20 team builds towards to the World Cup next year in Colombia, one of the most talked about young American players is Estudiantes de La Plata midfielder Michael Hoyos who just may still play for the US.
Hoyos, who was born and raised in Fountain Valley, California, has emerged in 2010 as a regular for the defending Copa Libertadores champions.
He began garning attention in January when he scored a magnificent 30 meter goal against perennial power Boca Juniors in a preseason tournament.
While last month's announcement that Argentina U20 head coach Sergio Batista had selected Hoyos for a U20 camp served as a setback for his chances of representing the US at the international level, US U20 coach Thomas Rongen has been having positive talks with the promising 18 year old about playing for the Stars and Stripes.
Rongen invited Hoyos to play at the Dallas Cup with the US U20 team but Estudiantes refused to release him. Despite this, Rongen is optimistic about his chances of getting Hoyos involved with the US program in the near future.
"Michael is playing very, very well and is getting first team minutes at Estudiantes," Rongen told YA. "He was actually very excited [about going] to the Dallas Cup. Unfortunately, Estudiantes said no, but I think it would make sense if somewhere down the line when there are no problems with his club that we would be able to see Michael Hoyas play for this U20 team."
Michael Hoyos is just one of the many current American youth players who have dual citizenship and the option of playing for another country at the international level.
The US has already seen two promising dual national players in Neven Subotic and Giuseppe Rossi achieve great success representing other countries and there is fear among US fans that Hoyos could become yet another loss of elite talent. While Hoyos' situation is far from settled, Rongen believes that the discussions with Hoyos have been going well.
It is clear that Hoyos has personal loyalties towards both the US and Argentina. While he was born in the US, his parents are Argentine and he and his family have been living in Argentina for over three years since Michael and his younger brother Kevin signed with Estudiantes.
Hoyos will eventually have to make his decision but Rongen does feel that there are factors which favor the US.
"I mean with players that are in those positions with dual citizenship – it won't be the first time, it won't be the last time," Rongen discussed. "Players have to make decisions. We feel that a player like Michael, who has spent a lot of years in this country, has some alliances and feelings about representing this country. That's important.
"We want players that want to represent the country and are proud of doing that. And Michael sounded like the player and person that wants to be involved, and that's a positive first step," Rongen concluded.