The documents are yet to be sent, but Mexican-American midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez has confirmed his intention to file a one-time switch with FIFA and represent the Mexico national team.
Gonzalez had played for the U.S. at the U-20 and U-17 levels but has not worn the Stars and Stripes since his breakout Apertura with Monterrey that saw him earn a starting role in the middle of Rayados' midfield in a season that saw them make Liga MX final after finishing first in the regular-season table.
U.S. Soccer sources confirmed to Goal that they had received notification of Gonzalez's intention to file a change of associations - one of the first stages of the process of going through FIFA's one-time switch. And while Mexico's director of national teams Dennis te Kloese said Monday that nothing is official and the paperwork has not yet been sent, it seems like only a matter of time until Gonzalez is representing El Tri.
"If they'll consider me, I'm deciding to defend the colors of this country. It would be an honor," Gonzalez tweeted in reply to Monterrey's official account.
Si me consideran, estoy decidido a defender los colores de este país. Sería un honor — Jona (@jgonzalezz25) January 8, 2018
Gonzalez already had been welcomed by his current club and seemingly future national teammate Cesar Montes. The center back sent a one-word greeting to Gonzalez on Twitter.
Welcome @jgonzalezz25 !!— Cesar Montes (@CJasib) January 8, 2018
Despite a frustrating defeat in the second leg of the Liga MX final, the 18-year-old has picked up where he left off in his first season as a regular. Gonzalez helped Rayados to a Copa MX final win just before Christmas and fight to a 1-1 draw in Saturday's season opener against Morelia.
When the switch officially is filed, it will be a race against the clock to see if Gonzalez will be ruled eligible by FIFA before a Jan. 31 friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. With Gonzalez far from a lock to get a spot on Mexico's World Cup roster, playing in one of El Tri's final matches before manager Juan Carlos Osorio names his squad could be critical to his chances. While Gonzalez earned a spot on several Liga MX Best XIs, he's untested against international competition and has also yet to be seen playing outside Monterrey's unique system.