Jul 24, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
Fernando Arce, Jr., has made a choice and doesn’t plan on changing his mind.
The Tijuana center midfielder and United States U-20 player says he will represent the United States and will not look back, despite his father’s status as a 47-times capped El Tri midfielder.
“From the start, I said that whoever called me first I would join that team forever,” Arce Jr. said. “The U.S. called me first and showed a lot of interest in me so the U.S. will be my national team.”
The 17-year-old Arce Jr. made his formal debut for Tijuana this year, though he did get to sub on for his father in a friendly before Senior jetted off to Guadalajara (where he scored in his first match). Arce Sr. is only 34-years-old.
Arce Jr. also said that his father both encouraged and understood his decision.
“First of all, he congratulated me that the U.S. national team had called me because being called by a national team is a great honor,” Arce Jr. said of his father’s reaction to the U.S. call-up. “So he told me that he was very happy. He also told me it was my decision for whom to play. As I had mentioned, I always said I would join whomever called me first whether the U.S. or Mexico. In this case it was the U.S., so he told me to write my own story and pick my own path and that hopefully it would be even better than his.”
The younger Arce has always been close with his father and for the past several seasons the two were also teammates at Club Tijuana, which the elder joined in 2011.
Arce Jr. played 90 minutes in the U-20 team’s 2-1 win over Chile this month, was a substitute in the 4-0 win over Bermuda and played all 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Australia that won the NTC Invitiational.
And, oh yeah, he’s just 17. Good news for the States, as he’s got plenty of time to learn about hashtags:
— fernando arce Jr. (@ferarceJr) July 22, 2014
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