United States goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez says he always felt welcome in the U.S. national team system, which helped him decide to file a one-time switch to become a U.S. international.
The U.S. coaching staff has had contact dating back to the Jurgen Klinsmann era, and the 22-year-old said that helped sway him to select the U.S. Gonzalez was born in North Carolina and was raised in Texas but represented Mexico at the youth level thanks to his parents' heritage.
"From the first moment, since Klinsmann was here, the United States has opened the doors to me and said they were very interested in me," Gonzalez told ESPN in an interview with Herculez Gomez. "As a player, you want to be in a place where you're valued. I think that was a big part of my decision."
Gonzalez said he wrestled with his decision but after speaking with coach Juan Carlos Osorio and also United States coach Bruce Arena, he felt the U.S. would be a better situation for his future.
"I chatted with Osorio, I talked with Osorio and everything," he said. "The truth is I respect him as a good manager, but he didn't convince me with what we talked about."
"I think it was a lack of opportunity," Gonzalez continued. "As a young goalkeeper, I think even to go and train and see how everything is with the senior national team and start to get in rhythm."
That's currently the situation the shot-stopper finds himself in, training with the United States ahead of Saturday's Gold Cup semifinal against Costa Rica after being added to the roster after the group stage. Even if Gonzalez doesn't see any time, the switch with FIFA means he can't change back to representing El Tri.