Julian Araujo declares for Mexico, filing switch from USMNT

LA Galaxy right-back Julian Araujo has declared for the Mexican national team after his one-time switch from the United States was approved by FIFA.

The dual-national player represented the United States men’s national team at youth level and made his senior debut in 2020. He also featured for the United States at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup. 

Araujo did not meet the cap maximum, making him eligible to switch his allegiance to Mexico. 

“My heart is with Mexico,” Araujo said in a statement. “I’m grateful for every opportunity that U.S. Soccer has provided me to help me grow as a soccer player and now I am excited to continue my international career with Mexico.”

Araujo previously declined the USMNT’s Gold Cup call up this summer and then again in September as he took time to contemplate his international future. Gregg Berhalter touched upon the player’s situation after he released the roster last week for the October World Cup qualifying matches. 

“That’s information that he’s going to share with the group; it’s not for me to share,” Berhalter said.

Without Araujo, the USMNT maintain many options for the right back position with Barcelona’s Sergino Dest, Galatasaray’s DeAndre Yedlin, Boavista’s Reggie Cannon, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Joe Scally, Roma’s Bryan Reynolds and Tenerife’s Shaq Moore all available for Berhalter. 

Araujo is the latest Major League Soccer dual-national player to make the difficult choice, joining Galaxy teammate Efrain Alvarez and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa in choosing Mexico. On the other hand, FC Dallas striker Ricardo Pepi declared for the USMNT. 

Mexico faces Ecuador, El Salvador and Canada during this round of qualifiers. However, Araujo will have to wait to make his El Tri debut, as he has not been selected inn Gerardo Martino’s squad.

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