New England Soccer Today

Fagundez Debuts for Uruguay

Photo credit: Uruguay Football Federation

Photo credit: Uruguay Football Federation

Any fleeting hopes that Diego Fagundez, who faced a four-year wait for American citizenship, would play for the United States someday died Thursday in Maldonado where he started for the Uruguay U-20s in a 1-0 win over Colombia in Group B play of the South American Youth Championship.

The 19-year-old Revolution Homegrown Player, who acquired his green card last year, was stationed on the right side of the midfield wearing his familiar number 14 for Uruguay in the first match of Group B play. He went 65 minutes before he was spelled by Facundo Castro. As a result, he is no longer eligible to play for the U.S.

Mauro Arambarri scored the game-winner for Uruguay in the 90+2 minute. Uruguay will return to action on Saturday when they face Brazil.

After a quiet 2014 MLS campaign, Fagundez was called into coach Fabio Coito’s preliminary camp last month, and the teenager made the most of the opportunity. He scored three goals and added an assist across a handful of scrimmages against local squads.

Fagundez was born in Montevideo before emigrating to the U.S. with his family when he was five-years-old. After a stellar 2013 campaign in which he scored a team-best 13 goals – the most by any teenager in MLS history – many American soccer fans hoped that the talented Fagundez would someday suit up for the U.S.

But the applicable immigration laws required Fagundez to wait five years until he was eligible for citizenship, putting off any potential U.S. call-up until 2018.

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