Osorio: 'I have never said that I won’t call in players from MLS'

The Mexican national team coach clarified statements suggesting that Major League Soccer was a retirement league and says he would call up players from the league.

Juan Carlos Osorio makes no apologies for believing, as most national team coaches do, that his best players should be aspiring to play in Europe’s top leagues, which are considered the best in the world.

What the Mexican national team coach does want to make clear is that recent comments attributed to him that appeared to single out Major League Soccer lacked full context of his main point, and were never supposed to be about singling out MLS.

“I did say that for any player the ultimate goal, especially at their peak, should be playing in Europe,” Osorio told Goal USA. “This goes for any league in the Americas, whether it’s MLS, the Mexican league, Brazilian league, Argentinian league or any other.”

Osorio was roundly panned on Wednesday for comments that not only appeared to cast MLS in a bad light, but also seemed to suggest he would ignore Mexican players playing in MLS.

“I have never said that I won’t call in players from MLS,” Osorio said. “Any suggestion of that idea is false. I would never ignore a player because of the league they play in.”

Osorio has spent multiple stints working in MLS, first as an assistant with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 2000 and 2001, then as head coach of the Chicago Fire in 2007 and New York Red Bulls in 2008 and 2009.

The Colombian-born coach arrived in the United States to attend college and spent his formative years as a coach developing in the U.S. before a five-year stint in England as an assistant with Manchester City.

Osorio made it clear that he has respect for MLS, and the league’s continued growth, but made it clear he believes any national team’s best players should be playing in Europe’s best leagues, such as the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A.

Osorio also wanted to clarify the notion that he believes only players who are close to retirement should play in MLS.

“I said players should look to MLS for the future and later in their career, but not that they should only go to MLS to retire," he said. "The league is a growing league and improving league. It is not an easy league.”