Posted on June 19, 2012
Five years after defecting from Cuba, Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is an American citizen.
The Cuban native found out the good news last Thursday after passing his citizenship test.
Alonso decided to defect to the U.S. during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Houston.
“I’m very happy for that decision I made,” Alonso was quoted on the Sounders’ website. “It was very tough leaving my family and friends in Cuba, but I had to look forward and whatever happened, that was my decision.”
“I’m really happy for Ozzie,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid told the Seattle Times. “It opens up new doors for him and new options.”
One of those doors might be a chance to play for the U.S. National Team. The 26-year-old Alonso can’t play for Cuba, but he might be able to perform for the U.S. someday.
“I’m not allowed to play anymore with Cuba, so I think I’ll have the opportunity to play with the U.S. national team,” he told the Times. “If the opportunity comes, it’s something I want to do. I’m very happy for that.”
Former U.S. international Chris Armas was allowed to play for the U.S. after playing for Puerto Rico in the Shell Caribbean Cup, the qualifiers for the Gold Cup.
“I don’t know if down the line he could be an option for the U.S. national team or not, because I don’t know all the circumstances and whether FIFA would grant him the opportunity to play for the U.S.,” Schmid was quoted by the Times. “They have to look into it. I know it’s happened before.”
Photo: Osvaldo Alonso hopes to wear a USA shirt someday. Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Caribbean, Cuba
Tags: 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, FIFA, Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders, Sigi Schmid