Francisco Navas Cobo may have spent the bulk of his youth in Colombia, but he is proud to call himself an American and to be representing the United States Under-20 team at the Dallas Cup.
Navas Cobo was born in Houston but then moved back to the South American country with his mother before making his way back to the Lone Star State in his early teens where he eventually linked up with the Houston Dyanmo Youth Academy.
"I was born in Houston but then after a year my mom moves us back to Colombia," Navas Cobo recalled to YA. "I spent my childhood in Colombia and then came back to Houston when I was 11. I played there one year and then went back to Colombia for a couple years and then got back to Houston to the Dynamo Academy."
The young midfielder says he worked hard to stand out among his peers and to grab the attention of Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
"Things went well at the Academy," he continued. "I worked hard to get to the pros. Dom saw me and liked the way I played and brought me to the Dynamo senior team. I was really excited."
Navas Cobo is also pleased to be on U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen's roster at this week's Dallas Cup where he will be representing the Stars and Stripes at the international level for the second time in his promising career.
"When I was 14 I was called to the Under-15 camp," noted Navas Cobo. "I am 100% proud to be representing the US. It has always been my dream to represent the US. It is the country where I was born and the country that saw more of me as a player."
The US team fell to the Under-20 Mexico team on Sunday night 1-0 in a disappointing loss that saw the US play the bulk of the match with 10 men.
Navas Cobo was arguably one of the best players on the field for the US as he worked hard to steady a midfield that was hindered by the man disadvantage.
To advance beyond Super Group play, the Dynamo player contends that the US team will have to improve on both sides of the ball.
"We will need to word hard defensively, pass the ball quickly and always look to be attacking in open spaces," he said of the US' strategy. "I think those will be the keys."
This week's tournament also marks the first time that Navas Cobo is playing for Rongen. So far, the long-time youth national team coach is drawing positive reviews from the rookie MLSer.
"Rongen is a nice coach. He has a really good relationship with the players. He helps make the players feel confident and he's an awesome person."
Once the Dallas Cup concludes, the dual citizen will return to Houston to be with the Dyanmo who started their season over the weekend with a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas.
The club underwent a bit of an overhaul during the offseason marked by the departures of midfielders and US internationals Stuart Holden to Bolton and Ricardo Clark to Eintracht Frankfut.
It will be up to new players such as Navas Cobo to fill that void in the Dyanmo's midfield, a task which Navas Cobo fully embraces.
"I'm a pretty calm player and I'm just waiting for my opportunity to play. I think the guys who took [Holden and Clark's] places will do a good job. We don't like to talk about the players who are gone, we only talk about the guys who on the team. We only move forward," he concluded.
Navas Cobo and the US return to Super Group play on Monday afternoon versus the Vancouver Whitecaps.