Jeffrey Payeras plays in Guatemala, the homeland of his parents, but he wants to represent his birth nation.CARSON, Calif. – Earlier this year, Jeffrey Payeras joined the U-20 Guatemalan national team for a three-day camp. Don't expect a quick return.
Consider his acceptance of a second call to join a U.S. U-20 camp the final say on the matter.
"It's definitely a commitment," Los Angeles-born Payeras said. "I've always wanted to represent my country and where I was born."
His first taste with Tab Ramos' team came last April in Portland. His club situation has changed since then.
The 6-foot-3 center back left the LA Galaxy academy and eventually returned to his parents' home country of Guatemala, where he signed for Municipal.
"I went over in December and I was on tryout for like two weeks and then they decided to offer me a contract," Payeras said. "I decided to stay because it's where my mom and my dad's from."
The 19-year-old lives in an apartment 10 minutes from the training ground in Guatemala City with two teammates.
He still has family, including an uncle, in Santa Rosa.
"They live over there like an hour and a half away, so I visit them, and my grandma," Payeras said. "It's pretty cool."
The few family members who supported Guatemala's other large club, Comunicaciones, quickly switched allegiances.
Payeras' international allegiances may prove less malleable.
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