KINGSTON, Jamaica -- United States captain Carlos Bocanegra didn't want to leave Rangers at the transfer deadline, but he knew it would hurt his standing on the national team had he stayed in Scotland's lower tier.
Bocanegra found a home in Spain's second division when he signed a loan deal with Racing Santander, ending a summer of speculation of where the defender may land. But he didn't necessarily want to walk away from Scotland.
"I was happy it was a loan," Bocanegra said. "I really enjoyed my time at the club and kind of fell in love with the city and the fans are unbelievable there. It was a hard place to leave regardless of what division they're in.
"There were 50,000 [fans] over the weekend and that's a hard thing to walk away from. when you get to play in front of that atmosphere every weekend, that's awesome."
Despite playing seven games with Rangers in the third division this summer after the club was relegated amidst financial turmoil, a move for Bocanegra was inevitable. The 33-year-old understands that he needs to play at a more competitive level to make Jurgen Klinsmann's squad for the 2014 World Cup.
"I want to try to continue with this [U.S.] team and hopefully this move will give me an opportunity to fight for my spot here at the national team," he said. "That definitely was on the back of my mind.
"I think if the national team picture wasn't involved, then I would have stayed at Rangers because I was captain of the club and it was an awesome setup for me. It was a great situation, but unfortunately they're in the lower divisions, but that's temporary."
Bocanegra's loan with Racing ends next June.