Fagundez a name to watch for US Men’s National Team

The American men’s soccer team has a new coach and plenty of decent young talent. It’s also got returning stars at key positions. But, if there’s one component the Yanks miss, it’s a star striker.

With that in mind, and the realization that there’s a long, long way to go before he could ever be considered a star, 16-year-old Diego Fagundez is a player to remember. The native Uruguayan was born in the Southern Hemisphere but moved to America with his family as a four-year-old. Since then soccer has been his life, and he’s now the youngest player in MLS, working his way into the lineup for the New England Revolution. He’s small, young, and talented. Just the type of player the American program should be helping grow. Unfortunately, Diego, despite growing up in central Massachusetts, is not officially an American citizen. The talented scorer is eligible to don the Uruguayan jersey, but not Uncle Sam’s.

If US soccer wants to change its fortunes, Fagundez might be a good place to start. Get the kid and his family the forms they need to officially become Americans. Bring him into the national team fold. And make a habit of it, because this isn’t the first time America has potentially lost a standout scorer to another nation, despite its deep ties to the player. Italian striker Guiseppe Rossi was born in New Jersey. He lived there until age 12, when his parents took him back to their native Italy. Rossi then played an important role in Italy’s 2009 Confederations Cup squad, but ultimately failed to make the 2010 World Cup roster. He would have not only made the American team, but likely starred.

This lesson should not be lost on the Americans this time. Diego Fagundez may not turn into much more than an adequate international player in his prime, but there’s no sense watching it happen for another nation.