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Zendejas non-committal on US or Mexico future

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 24 January 2023 16:47

CARSON, California -- Dual-national Alejandro Zendejas said he hasn't closed the door to Mexico, despite accepting a first senior call up for the United States men's national team this month.

Speaking ahead a friendly against Serbia on Wednesday at LAFC's BMO Stadium, the Club America winger was asked how open he is to getting called into official games for the USMNT later this year.

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"I'll probably focus on the future once we get to that standpoint," Zendejas said during a news conference Tuesday.

"I'm enjoying the moment, I'm enjoying the present. I'd rather live day-by-day. Once the moment comes to choose, or the future, I'll decide on that later."

A representative for U.S. Soccer confirmed that Zendejas is still eligible to make a one-time switch to Mexico, who were recently punished by FIFA for fielding the player during two friendlies in 2021 and 2022 without filing an official change of association with the sport's governing body.

On Friday, the Mexican federation was fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,900) by FIFA and forced to retroactively forfeit two friendlies for utilizing Zendejas.

The former FC Dallas homegrown had previously played at youth level for both countries but had also taken part in an official competition with the U.S. in the 2015 U17 World Cup.

Discussing Zendejas' call-up this week, interim coach Anthony Hudson expressed surprise that Club America were willing to let go of the player when not obligated to do so during a non-FIFA window. Zendejas will be available for selection against Serbia before heading back to his club ahead of a second USMNT friendly against Colombia on Saturday.

"I have to be honest, I didn't think there was any chance we were gonna get him because he's obviously playing in season right now," Hudson said.

"The fact that the club let him come in, let him come in to play against Serbia, then go back to play with them on the 28th, is amazing. A huge amount of respect to the club."

Hudson also confirmed that the process to bring in Zendejas had started "a while ago" and that the now out-of-contract USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter had previously contacted the in-form 24-year-old.

The current U.S. roster also features first-ever opportunity with the senior men's national team for fellow Mexican-American dual-national Brandon Vazquez.

Unlike Zendejas, the striker was never given a chance with El Tri, noting recently at MLS media day that there's "still no conversation" with the Mexican federation and that "nobody's called."

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